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Dokumentenidentifikation EP0937949 30.09.1999
EP-Veröffentlichungsnummer 0937949
Titel Anordnung zum Temperieren, Kühlen und Gefrieren von Räumen
Anmelder Kometos Oy, Kauhajoki, FI
Erfinder Niemi, Raimo, 61800 Kauhajoki, FI
Vertreter derzeit kein Vertreter bestellt
Vertragsstaaten AT, BE, CH, CY, DE, DK, ES, FI, FR, GB, GR, IE, IT, LI, LU, MC, NL, PT, SE
Sprache des Dokument En
EP-Anmeldetag 09.02.1999
EP-Aktenzeichen 996600235
EP-Offenlegungsdatum 25.08.1999
Veröffentlichungstag im Patentblatt 30.09.1999
IPC-Hauptklasse F24F 3/044

Beschreibung[en]
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to a tempering, chilling and freezing room arrangement according to the preamble of claim 1.

If possible, foodstuffs are stored and transported as frozen so that their shelf life could be extended and their processing possibilities improved. Frozen products are defrosted when necessary or brought to a certain temperature, i.e. tempered, for further processing or retail sale. Chilling of a product means a treatment in which the temperature of the product is set to -2 °C at a depth of 1 cm, for example, in which case the product can be handled, e.g. sliced, with smaller material losses regardless of whether the product is thoroughly frozen or not.

Typically heat-transferring elements which transfer heat to or from a treating room are used for regulating the temperature of treating rooms, which allows to influence the temperature of the product to be treated. Heat transfer is improved by an airflow which is produced into the treating room, which increases heat transfer to or from the product considerably.

Prior art solutions include large treating units for foodstuffs which are suitable for freezing or defrosting large amounts of goods, in particular. However, it is expensive to build and run such units and they also require a lot of space. In practice it is thus difficult and uneconomical to establish and maintain a small but efficient unit with equipment for freezing and defrosting foodstuffs.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The object of the present invention is to provide an arrangement which avoids the above-mentioned drawbacks and allows more reliable tempering, chilling and freezing of a product to be treated by means of a simpler apparatus. This object is achieved with an arrangement which is characterized in that the arrangement also comprises an airflow guide element which is arranged above the product to be treated and guides the produced airflow to a suction duct through the product to be treated.

The invention is based on the idea that the whole space of a small-sized room for treating products is utilized by guiding the airflow through the product by using an adjustable airflow member. In the room the equipment needed for heating and cooling air and for producing the airflow are placed above the product to be treated, which allows to make the depth of the container as small and practical as possible.

An advantage of the arrangement of the invention is its small size thanks to which the arrangement is also suitable for use in small food-processing plants. Despite its small size the arrangement of the invention has a large variety of uses, and it is particularly suitable for tempering, chilling and freezing products.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention will be described in greater detail by means of preferred embodiments with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which

  • Figures 1 and 2 illustrate tempering, chilling and freezing rooms according to some embodiments of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

According to Figure 1, a tempering, chilling and freezing room is a closed space provided with a door where the purpose is to influence the temperature of the product to be treated. The room is designed for one or two pallets of the product 11 to be treated, depending on the structure of the pallet. The width of the treating space is determined by the fact that enough space should be left for the airflow to be produced into the room between the product in the room and the side walls. Depending on the need, the room may comprise one or two thermally insulated doors. If the room is intended for two pallets, it is often practical to use two smaller doors rather than one door which is almost as large as the front wall.

The treating room comprises apparatuses 1 and 2 for producing heat and cold air. The heat-producing apparatus 1 may be for example a louver-like heat exchanger, which is heated by electric resistance or hot water and which heats up the air passing through it. The cooling apparatus 2 may be for example a louver inside of which a suitable refrigerant flows which absorbs heat from the airflow passing through the louver and discharges the heat outside the space to be cooled down. When the heat of the airflow absorbs into the refrigerant, the airflow and thus also the product to be treated cool down.

The heating and cooling elements 1, 2 are placed in a suction duct 6 provided in the upper part of the treating room. The suction duct is defined by the roof 7, upper parts 8 of the walls and ceiling 5, the room being closed and made of heat-insulated material. The airflow is produced into the room by an absorbing blower 4 which sucks air from the suction duct through the heating and cooling elements. According to one preferred embodiment, the rotational speed and suction effect of the absorbing blower 4 can be set steplessly. Preferably a frequency transformer is used for implementing stepless adjustment. The rotational speed of the short circuit motor and the absorbing blower attached to it can be adjusted by the frequency transformer. The stepless adjustment of the suction effect has the advantage that cooling and heating becomes more economical and the variety of purposes for which the room can be used increases. For example, when the temperature of the product has reached the set target temperature in tempering, the product temperature should be maintained at this temperature. The airflow needed for maintaining a certain temperature is considerably smaller than the airflow used during tempering. Stepless adjustment also ensures that the product can be set to the desired temperature accurately.

On the side opposite to the absorbing blower 4 the edge of the ceiling 5 needed for forming the suction duct does not extend up to the wall, but forms an opening 9 which connects the room space to the suction duct 6. Air is sucked from the room space through the opening and through the heating and cooling elements 1, 2 located in the suction duct. Since air is circulated in the room by means of the suction effect, the flow is distributed evenly through the product 11 to be treated and thus the temperature of the product also remains even. The article to be treated is typically packed for example into cartons, which are arranged so that there are gaps between the boxes along which the air can flow freely. The gaps can be provided for example by suitable lathing, grids or by another similar arrangement, which allows to detach the boxes from one another. Uniformity of the gaps ensures even flow between the boxes.

According to a preferred embodiment of the invention illustrated in Figure 1 the airflow guide member comprises an adjustable partition wall 10 connected to the ceiling 5. The partition wall seals the space between the upper part of the product 11 to be treated and the ceiling 5.The partition wall is positioned so that the absorbing blower 4 and the opening 9 in the ceiling are on the different sides of the partition wall, in other words, the partition wall 10 is transverse to the suction duct 6 in the upper part of the room. Thanks to this arrangement, the airflow produced by the absorbing blower 4 is forced to pass through the product to be treated. The adjustable partition wall is dimensioned so that in the lateral direction the curtain extends from the front edge of the room, i.e. the door, to the rear edge of the room, in which case the airflow produced into the room cannot pass along an impractical route. In the direction of the adjustable partition wall the depth of the room is dimensioned so that a pallet or a similar object just fits into the room.

The adjustable partition wall 10 functioning as an airflow guide element is attached to the ceiling 5 from which it extends down to the upper surface of the product to be treated. The dimension of the partition wall from the top to the bottom can be adjusted according to the height of the product to be treated. The structure of the wall is such that the wall can be folded or rolled up or changed in another similar manner, and thus the height of the wall can be easily changed.

According to an embodiment of the invention, the airflow guide member consists of a ceiling 5 whose one end can be lowered onto the upper surface of the product to be treated as illustrated in Figure 2. The ceiling whose one end can be lowered guides the airflow to be produced through the product to be treated in the desired manner since one end 17 of the ceiling settles tightly on the upper surface of the product 11 to be treated. The arrangement according to Figure 2 is particularly suitable when there are for example three or four or more pallets of the product to be treated.

According to the preferred embodiment of the invention, the ceiling 5 is attached to a machine unit 18 so that one end of the ceiling can be lowered onto the upper surface of the product to be treated, the machine unit comprising devices for producing heat and cold air and an apparatus for producing an airflow. In that case, the ceiling is attached to one edge of the machine unit by means of a hinge-like joint, and the other end of the machine unit is connected to a member controlling lowering of one end of the ceiling, the member being preferably a spindle motor 19. Lowering of one end of the ceiling 5 onto the product 11 to be treated can thus be controlled reliably. One end of the ceiling can be adjusted so that it extends to the upper surface of the product to be treated regardless of the height of the product. If necessary, the room arrangement of the invention can be arranged to receive several pallets both in the lateral direction and in the depth direction, in which case the number of machine units 18 can also be increased. The material of the ceiling is self-supporting, which allows to make the structure of the ceiling stiff enough without any auxiliary structures.

According to Figure 2, the end of the ceiling may consist of a separate hinged part which, when lowered onto the upper surface of the product to be treated, forms a tight covering part which ensures that the airflow passes through the product to be treated. Even though the partially lowerable ceiling, which functions as an airflow guide member, does not cover the whole upper surface of the product to be treated, the produced airflow can be made to pass through the whole product to be treated due to both the suction effect by means of which the airflow is produced and the speed of this airflow. When the airflow has been made to pass through one pallet of the product with a sufficiently high speed in the horizontal direction, it does not change its direction at other pallets even though these were not covered by the ceiling.

The room arrangement also comprises sensors by means of which the temperature of the product 11 to be treated and the room are monitored. The measuring data are transferred from the temperature sensors to a control device 12 which in turn controls the blower 4 and the heating 1 or cooling elements 2, depending on the need. According to an embodiment of the invention, the sensors comprise three temperature sensors 13, 14, 15, of which two are in the product to be treated and one is fixed to the suction duct 6. One 15 of the sensors in the product measures the surface temperature of the product and the other 14 the inside temperature. The purpose of the sensor 15 measuring the surface temperature is to monitor that the product is not heated with an excessive amount of heat, which would increase the surface temperature too much. The sensor 14 to be placed inside the product shows the inside temperature of the product on the basis of which one knows when the whole product has reached the desired temperature. Thanks to the even airflow produced into the suction duct by means of suction, the surface temperature of the product is substantially the same everywhere in the product, and thus the place of the sensor 15 can be selected freely. The inside temperature is the same in the whole product, too, and thus the sensor 14 measuring the inside temperature can also be positioned freely. The sensor 13 fixed to the suction duct 6 measures the room temperature. Data on the room temperature can be used for example when the product is to be kept at a certain temperature.

The temperature-measuring sensors are connected to a control device 12, which may be a microprocessor or a computer which is arranged to monitor the measurement results and control the heating and cooling devices 1, 2 and the apparatus 4 needed for producing the airflow according to a selected program. Programs are stored in the memory of the device for the most common uses of the room, such as tempering, chilling and freezing. The devices in the room automatically carry out the programs stored in the memory of the control device 12.

According to an embodiment of the invention, in the control device 12 or in connection with it there is a memory device 16 which registers the temperature history of the product. The temperature history allows to check that the product has been treated and stored at the temperatures given in the regulations. By means of the temperature history it can also be shown that any defects in quality of the product have not been caused by temperatures contrary to the regulations.

It is obvious to a person skilled in the art that the inventive concept can be implemented in several different ways. Thus the invention and its embodiments are not limited to the examples described above, but may vary within the scope of the claims.


Anspruch[en]
  1. A tempering, chilling and freezing room arrangement which comprises devices (1, 2, 4) for producing heat, cold air and an airflow, a ceiling (5) which is arranged to form, together with the upper part (8) of the walls and the roof (7) of the room, a suction duct (6) in which the apparatus (4) for producing the airflow and the devices (1, 2) for producing heat and cold air are arranged, the ceiling (5) comprising an opening (9) which connects the room space to the suction duct (6), characterized in that the arrangement also comprises an airflow guide member (10) which is arranged above the product to be treated and guides the produced airflow to the suction duct (6) through the product (11) to be treated.
  2. An arrangement according to claim 1, characterized in that the airflow guide member comprises a partition wall which is arranged to the ceiling the position of which is substantially fixed and which can be adjusted so that it extends from the ceiling to the upper surface of the product to be treated.
  3. An arrangement according to claim 1, characterized in that the airflow guide member is formed by a ceiling whose one end (17) can be lowered onto the upper surface of the product to be treated.
  4. An arrangement according to claim 3, characterized in that the ceiling is connected to a machine unit which comprises devices for producing heat and cold air and an apparatus for producing an airflow, so that one end (17) of the ceiling can be lowered onto the upper surface of the product to be treated.
  5. An arrangement according to claim 4, characterized in that the fastening between the machine unit and the ceiling comprises a hinged joint and a spindle motor (19) arranged to control the lowering of one end of the ceiling.
  6. An arrangement according to claims 1 to 5, characterized in that the apparatus (4) for producing the airflow is an absorbing blower which comprises stepless adjustment of the suction effect.
  7. An arrangement according to claims 1 to 6, characterized in that it also comprises sensors (13, 14, 15) which are arranged to monitor the temperature of the product to be treated, a control device (12) which is arranged to control the devices (1, 2, 4) producing heat, cold air and an airflow, and a memory device (16) which is arranged to store the temperature history of the product (11) to be treated.
  8. An arrangement according to claims 1 to 7, characterized in that the structures of the room are made of thermally insulated material.
  9. An arrangement according to any one of claims 1 to 8, characterized in that the room arrangement is arranged to receive either one or more pallets with their loads.






IPC
A Täglicher Lebensbedarf
B Arbeitsverfahren; Transportieren
C Chemie; Hüttenwesen
D Textilien; Papier
E Bauwesen; Erdbohren; Bergbau
F Maschinenbau; Beleuchtung; Heizung; Waffen; Sprengen
G Physik
H Elektrotechnik

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