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Chiller/cooler

Imported: 24 Feb '17 | Published: 06 Jan '04

David A. Norris

USPTO - Utility Patents

Abstract

A chiller comprises a vessel for coolant and an endless conveyor having transverse flights. The conveyor passes in a loop from one side to another of the vessel. An arrangement is provided to alter the path of the conveyor so as to shorten and lengthen the loop. In use, when the loop is lengthened articles are tumbled in the coolant by the flights, and when the loop is shortened articles are conveyed out of the vessel.

Description

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWING

FIG. 1 is a diagrammatic vertical section through a first embodiment of chiller to illustrate operation in the loading and tumbling phases,

FIG. 2 is a view similar to FIG. 1 but illustrating the unloading phase,

FIG. 3 is a view similar to FIG. 1 but of a second embodiment during the loading phase.

Claims

1. A chiller comprising a vessel for coolant, an endless conveyor having transverse flights for transporting articles, said conveyor passing in a loop from one side to another of the vessel, means being provided to alter the path of the conveyor so as to shorten and lengthen the loop so that, in use, when the loop is lengthened articles are tumbled in the coolant by the flights, and when the loop is shortened articles are conveyed out of the vessel.

2. A chiller comprising a vessel for coolant, a system for maintaining the temperature of the coolant at a desired level, an endless conveyor having a run constituting a loop which descends into the vessel, drive means for causing the endless conveyor to circulate, and means for lengthening and shortening the said run thereby to respectively increase and decrease the size of the loop, the chiller having a phase of operation in which the size and shape of the loop are such that articles to be cooled and deposited in coolant within the loop are tumbled in coolant within the loop but are not entrained by the conveyor and removed from the vessel, and a further phase of operation in which the shape of the loop is such that such articles are entrained and removed from the vessel by the conveyor.

3. A chiller as claimed in claim 2, wherein the drive means includes two rollers arranged one at each end of the loop and drive motors for driving the rollers selectably at different speeds.

4. A chiller as claimed in claim 3, wherein the conveyor includes a run external to the vessel for conveying articles into the vessel and along which articles are unloaded from the vessel.

5. A chiller as claimed in claim 4, wherein the conveyor is unsupported inside the vessel.

6. Food processing apparatus comprising:

7. Apparatus as claimed in claim 6, wherein said loading means is constituted by said further run, the drive motors being reversible so as to circulate the conveyor in the reverse direction during unloading.

8. A method of cooling packaged food product, wherein packages of hot food products are deposited in a bath of coolant contained within a vessel, an endless conveyor forming a loop within the coolant, packages deposited in the coolant being contained within the loop, circulation of the conveyor causing the packages to tumble in the coolant, and upon the packages being cooled to a desired temperature the run constituting the loop being reduced in length and depth so that it entrains and removes packages from coolant.