US 2794326 A
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June 4, 1957 s. A. MENcAccl 2,794,326
METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR COOLING CANNED GOODS ATTORNFY June 4, 1957 s. A. MENcAccl 2,794,326
METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR COOLING CANNED Goons 3 shet-sheet 2 lFiled June 26, 1955 INVENTOR sA'MuEL AV. MEpacAccl ATTORN EY .lune 4, 1957 s. A. Mx-:NcAccI 2,794,326
METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR COOLING CANNED GOODS Vs sheets-sheet s Filed June 26, 1953 ATTORNEY United States Patent C METHOD AND APPARATUS FR COOLNG CANNED GGDS Samuel A. Mencacc, San Jose, Calif., assigner to Food Machinery and Chemical Corporation, lose, Caid., a corporation of Delaware Application June 26, 1953, Serial No. 364,454 6 Claims. (Cl. 622-164) This invention yrelates to coolers and more particularly to the class of coolers used to lower the temper-ature of commodities cooked in sealed cans.
An object of the invention is to provide an improved method of lowering the temperature of canned goods.
Another object is to provide a cooling method which lowers the temperature of a commodity cooked in sealed cans within a suicient-ly short time after cooking to .avoid impairment of the quality of the product.
Another object is to provide a method of cooling in which articles yare cooled in a series of successive steps in each of which the temperature differential between the articles and the coolant is 'less than that apt to cause injury to the cans.
Another object is to use as the coolant applied to the articles during an early `stage of the cooling operation, water which has been warmed -by heat extracted :from others of the articles which have reached a later stage of cooling.
Another object is to provide for the cooling of articles by the application thereto of Water at a lower temperature than the article, in accordance .with an improved method characterized by great economy in the quantity of cooling water required.
Another object is to provide apparatus whereby the method of the invention is attainable, and in which the articles are advanced in a continuous procession sub-k ject to synchronization with conventional commercial cooking apparatus.
The invention possesses other objects and valuable features which will become apparent from the following description and the drawings, in which: Y
Fig. 1 is a side elevation of apparatus whereby the method of the present invention can be performed, a
, part of the figure being broken away.
Fig. 2 is a plan of the apparatus of Fig. l. IFig. 3 is a transverse section on theline 3-3 of ,Fig 1.-
lFig. 4 is a diagram illustrating onepmanner of arranging 'the valves to accomplish the method of the invention. f Y
Fig. 5 is a similar diagram, showing another valve arrangement whereby a modification of the method of the invention is performed.
The present invention provides an improved method of and apparatus for cooling heated articles such as canned foods as they are discharged in a continuous procession from a commercial cooker or sterilizer. "In accordance with this improved method, the articles are cooled by applying cooling water thereto at successively lower temperatures, and thus attaining the total temperature drop desired in a series of steps in each of which the temperature differential between articles and coolant is so moderate as to avoid its having any detrimental eieot. This method of step-by-step rcooling is accomplished by recirculating the cooling water in such a manner that heat extracted from articles .which have reached one of the later cooling stages is utilized to raise the temperature "ice of the water for subsequent application in a diterent portion `of the apparatus containing others of the articles which are in an earlier stage of the cooling process. The cooling liquid is applied to the articles in the form of a spray, so that the articles may also be contacted by a blast of air which is maintained through the cooling chamber, thus causing heat in addition to that transmitted to the Water to 'be transmitted to the air by both conduction and convection. The eciency of the cooling method is further enhanced by the air ow, which replaces the moisture-laden air Within the chamber with fresh air, and in this manner promotes evaporation yon the surfaces of the articles, causing absorption of heat.1
The cooling method of the present invention may be performed with apparatus such as that illustrated in Figs. 1, 2, and 3. It comprises a horizontally arranged housing 5 of generally cylindrical form and having a can inlet valve 6 and a can outlet valve 7 adj-acent opposite ends of the housing whereby cans are introduced to and removed from the chamber S within the housing. A conveyor 9 advances the cans in a continuous procession within the chamber 8 from the inlet valve 6 to the outlet valve 7. The conveyor 9 comprises a reel 11 having a plurality of pockets 12 arranged in an endless series about the periphery of the reel. The pockets 12 extend the full length of the reel, and cans are slid along the pockets 12 by a spiral guide 13 in the form of a T-bar aixed to the inner surface of the housing 5. The pockets 12 are defined by a vplurality 'of longitudinally extending angle bars 14 aixed in spaced parallel relation about the outer peripheral edges of a plurality of spaced annular heads 16. The'head 16 at leach end of the reel 11 is mounted by spokes 17 on a hub `18, and each hub is rigidly secured to a pipe 19. The two pipes 19 lare axially aligned, and each is journalled in -a ysuitable bearing 21 in the associated end of'the housing 5. Both pipes 19 extend through their respectively associated bearings 21, and a gear 23 is axed to each of the pipes 19 outside the housing. EIhe reel 11 is rotated by power derived from a suitable source (not shown) and applied to one or both of the gears 23.
The cans 26 (Fig. 3) to be cooled enter the chamber 8 through the inlet valve 6 in a continuous procession as they are discharged at a relatively high temperature from apparatus such as a cooker or sterilizer. After passing through the inlet valve 6, each can 26 seats within one of the pockets 12 with the axis of the can 26 parallel to the longitudinal axis of the housing 5. Each can is seated also between two adjacent whorls of the spiral T- bar 13. As the reel 11 turns, moving the cans 26 thus engaged within `the pockets 12, the cans 26 are advanced in a circular path whereupon an end of each can 26 yengages one of the Whorls loi the spiral T-bar 13 and is a spiral path, advancing from the inlet valve 6 to thev outlet valve 7 where they are discharged. While each can is traversing approximately the upper half of its circular path, all or most of its weight is imposed upon the reel, and accordingly throughout that time the can partakes of the same motion as the reel, turning at a relatively slow rate about the reels axis. Throughout at least most of the remainder of the travel of each can in its circular orbit, all or most of the cans weight is imposed upon the stationary guide 13, with the result that the can travels along the guide in a rolling motion, rotating more rapidly about its ownl axis. Consequently, throughout substantially the entire three hundred and sixty degrees of travel in each of the Whorls of its spiral path, each can experiences a continuous change in its aspect with relation to the force oi gravity, with the result that 1n this manner, the cans 26 are lmoved e the trough 51. The partitions Vmounting being incorporated Y of the housing 3 its uid or semi-fluid contents are continuously agitated. This expedites dispersion of heat from the contents of the can by causing cooled portions of the contents to move away' from the walls of the can, and the warmer portion of Ythe contents toY take their place adjacent or in contact with .the can walls, where they in turn transmit heat through the can walls to the coolant.
' VMeans are provided for supplying cooling water :to the housing and for recirculating rthe water to apply the water repeatedly to the cans -on the conveyor.V A plu- --rality of groups 31, 32 and 33 of spaced nozzles 34 are arranged in longitudinal alignment in the topY of the housing 5.' Each nozzle 34 is carried by an adapter 35 (.Fig.'V 3) extending through and 'rigidly'secured to the Vhousing atV the top thereof, and is arranged to-directits spray downward against cans 26 on the conveyor 9. As will be explained hereinbelow, the three groups 31, 32 and 33 of vnozzles 34 are individually controlled. Consequently, the three groups establish three zones 36,Y 37 and 38 of the chamber 8, into which the nozzles A34`of vthe three groups '31, 32 and 33, respectively, direct their jets. A manifold tube 39 is associated with each group 36, 37'and 3S, each nozzle 34 being connected with its associated manifold tube 39 by a loop of tubing 40.
The manifold tube 39 of the group 33 nearest the outlet valve ''k is connected by piping 41 with a source 42 of cold water under pressure. The piping 41 includes a manually operable control valve 43 and a by-pass 44 around said valve 43. Said by-pass is provided with a pressure regulator 46 and manually operable valves 47 and 48 which can be closed to shield the pressure regulator 46 when the main control valve 43 is open. A warning switch 49 (Figs. 4 and 5) connected into the supply. line 42 actuates a suitable signal if and when Water pressure in the line 42 becomes too low to maintain efficiency 4of the cooling operation. Y
VA sump trough 51in the bottom of the housing 5 and substantially coeXtensive in length therewith collects water after it has been sprayed onto the cans 26. The trough 51 is divided into a plurality of zones 52 by partitions 53, and each partition 53 is fastened to a rod 54 which extendsV through at least one wall of the trough 51, making the rod accessible outside the housing 5, whereby the associated partition 53 can be swung optionally to or froma position wherein it blocks -ow therepast within 53 normally remain fully operation, their adjustable into the apparatus so that drain the trough when the closed while the cooler is in the partitions can be raised to cooler is shut down.
A header pipe 56 to withdraw the collected water from .K- l the sump trough 5,1, extending alongside the housing 5, 1s provided with a pump 57, 58 adjacent each of its ends. Suction pipes 61, 62, 63 and 64 lead into the header pipe 56 at spaced intervals therealong, and each suction pipe communicates with one Vof the zones 52 of the trough 51. The suction pipe 64 communicates with 1 the zone 52 nearest the outlet end of the housing 5 and the remaining suction pipes 63,'762 and 61, respectively, communicate with zones 52 of the trough disposed in the same order along the trough toward the inlet endV of the A manually operable valve 69, 70, 71 is interposed in Vthe header pipe 56 between each two adjacent suction .fp1pes 61,', 62, 63 and 64. Each of the pumps 57 58 able valves 73 and 74. The valve 73 at the outlet end v Vis, connected by a conduit75 with the intermediate group 32 of upper nozzle 34, whereas the corresponding valve 73 at the housings inlet end is connected by a conduit 76 with the upper nozzle group 31. Each of the valves '74 is connected to the center pipe 19 extending through the associated end of the housing by a conduit 77 having a flexible coupling 78 therein. Each of the center pipes 19 is provided with a plurality of groups 81 of nozzles 82, the nozzles 82 of each group being arranged to direct their jets radially in substantially all directions from the associated pipe 19 (Fig. 3). The groups 81 of nozzles on the pipe 19 leadingfrom the pump 58 are arranged at spaced intervals within lthe intermediate cooling zone 37 of the chamber 8 (Figs. 4 and 5) whereas the groups 81 of nozzles on the pipe .19 controlled by the pump 57 are arranged at spaced intervals within the first cooling zone 36.
An overflow pipe 86 leads from the trough 51, being connected to the trough in the zone 52 thereof nearest overflow pipe 86 carries a nipple 87 (Fig. 2) whichexl tends upward but which is rotatable upon the pipe 86 so that it canbe adjusted to dispose its upper end at different elevations and thereby regulate the depth to which water accumulates within the trough 51 or, in somenstances, above .the trough 51 and within the body of the housing 5.
A blower 91, driven by a motor 92, is mounted on the housing 5 with the outlet duct 9,3 of the blower communicating with the interior of the housing adjacent thedischarge endthereof. An air escape vent 94 is provided in the upper surface of theV housing 5 adjacent the housings inlet end; and since the intake opening (not shown) of the blower communicates with the ambient atmosphere, the `blower operates to circulate fresh air through the housing, thereby 'displacing the heated, moisture laden air therein. Y i
In using the described apparatus to perform the method of the present invention, cans to be cooled are fed continuously through the inlet valve 6 onto the conveyor -9 which advances the cans in a continuous procession through the several cooling zones 36, 37 and 38 of the chamber 8 to the outlet valve 7 where the cooled cans are dischargedg A flow of cooling water into the chamber 8 is initiated by opening either the single control valve 43 or' the two valves 47 and 48, causing the nozzles 34 of the vgroup 33 to apply water to cans 26 being conveyed through the last or nalcooling zone 38. This application of cold water to cans in zone 38 completes the cooling (of cansA which have been partially cooled in their earlier passageV through zones 36 and 37.
f After application of water to cans Within zone 38, the
coolant is recirculated and applied to cans the tempera-V ture of which is higher than that of the cans in zone 38.
,Howeven the temperature of the water applied during recirculation also is higher, due to its having absorbed heat from cans in zone 38. Consequently the tempera- "tlure, #diife'rential between cans and coolant in zone 37 is filled, kpartly by Voverliow from the previously discussed trough zone and partly by water collected after having been'recirculated and again sprayed. Similarly all of the zones of the trough will be filled until Water thus accumulated reaches the level of the upper end of the overow nipple 87, theradjustment of which determines the depth at which thewater collected inthe bottom ofthe housing valves 69 land 71 in the 5 will Ybe maintained. Y Y Y One moditication of the cooling method employing the principleof recirculation of coolant Yat successively higher temperaturesris performed with the valves arranged as indicated Yin Fig. 4. As here shown, all four suction pipe valvesg are-open.,Y Valve 70 in the header pipe 56 between the suctionA pipes 62y and. 63 is closed, and the two header pipe 56 on opposite sides of the valve 70 are open. Consequently, when both pumps 57-and 5S are activated, water somewhat warmer than when initially introduced to the housing is withdrawn by the suction pipes 63 and 64 from the two zones 52 of the trough 51 nearest the discharge end of the apparatus and is supplied to the upper nozzles 34 of the intermediate group 32 and also to the nozzles 82 of the center pipe 19 associated with the :discharge end of the apparatus. Accordingly, the nozzles 34 and 82 in cooling zone 37 are supplied with relatively warm water which they spray on cans 26 on the adjacent portion of the conveyor. Since the cans in zone 37 are considerably warmer than those in the last zone 38, the water will be further warmed by heat absorbed from the cans in zone 37, after which it will again collect in the trough 51, mixing with and raising the temperature of the water already there.
For this reason, water withdrawn from the trough 51 by the suction pipes 61 and 62 will be hotter than before its contact with cans in zone 37, and this relatively hot Water is delivered by the pump 57 to the nozzles 34 of the group 31 and'to the nozzles S2 of the center pipe 19 associated with the inlet end of the cooler. Accordingly the temperature of the water sprayed in the irst zone 36, where the cans are hottest, is higher than when sprayed in either or" the other two cooling zones, thus maintaining substantially the same temperature differential between cans and coolant in each of the three cooling zones.
The two valves 73 and 74 at each end of the apparatus can be manipulated to determine the proportionate amount of coolant supplied by each pump to the upper nozzles 34 and to the central nozzles 82; or, if desired, either valve 73 or 74 at each end of the apparatus can be completely closed should it be desired to have all of the coolant supplied by either pump applied to the cans exclusively by either the upper nozzles 34 or the central nozzles S2.
As hereinabove explained, water :is withdrawn from the trough 51 at successively higher temperatures by the suction pipes 64, 63, 62 and 61, in that order. This oers a convenient method of regulating the temperature at which coolant is applied to the cans in each of the successive stages of cooling so as to attain not only the total drop in temperature desired but also the rate of heat dissipation. For example, if it is found that too great a temperature diiferential exists between cans reaching zone 38 and the water sprayed in that zone, a greater proportional part of the total desired temperature `drop can be attained in the earlier cooling stages of cooling the cans by the arrangement of valves illustrated in Fig. 5. In this arrangement, the valve 65 in the suction pipe 61 is closed, and the Valves 65 of the other suction pipes 62, 63 and 64 are open. The valves 69 and 70 of the header pipe 56 are open and the valve 71 is closed. Therefore, nozzles 34 and 82 of the intermediate zone 37 receive coolant from only the zone 52 of the trough 51 nearest the discharge end of the machine, i. e. the coolest water within the trough 51. However, the water withdrawn from the trough 51 by the pump 57 will be by way of the pipes 62 and 63 and hence materially cooler than under the arrangement described in connection with Fig. 4. This prevents any of the water which has contacted the cans in their hottest condition from being recirculated since the two zones 52 of the trough 51 nearest the inlet end of the housing 5 can discharge water only through the overow pipe S6.
Thus it may be seen that the arrangement of piping and valves with which the cooler of the present invention is equipped provides for several diiferent adjustments each of which causes coolant to be applied to the cans in the process of cooling in a plurality of successive steps in each of which the temperature of the coolant is moderated to that of the cans. This avoids any excessive temperature diierential between coolant and articles being cooled which might damage the cans.
The overall efliciency of the cooling operation is enhanced by air forced through the chamberA 8 by the blower 91. The cool Iair thus supplied displaces the warm air Within the chamber and laccelerates the dissipation of heat from the cans by both convection and conduction. Moreover, forced air circulation maintains a relatively dry 'atmosphere within the housing by replacing the air therein which otherwise would become saturated. The fresh air supplied by the fan therefore promotes evaporation of moisture on the can surfaces, and thereby increases to a very considerable degree the amount of heat which is absorbed from each can in the process of vaporization of the moisture. Dissipation of heat by each of the three principles of heat loss by the cans andV their contents is still further expedited by the tumbling or :agitation of the contents of each can resulting from the rolling motion of which the cans partake as they are moved along the canway or guide 13 by the rotating drum.
While I have shown and described -a preferred apparatus and a preferred method for carrying out my invention, it will be understood that both are capable of variation and modification while still employing the principles of my invention. It is to be understood, therefore,
Vthat the scope of the invention should be limited only by the scope and proper interpretation of the claims appended hereto.
Having thus described my invention, what I claim as new and desire to protect by Letters Patent is:
l. A method of cooling articles which comprises passing the articles successively through a plurality of cooling zones, applying evaporative liquid coolant to articles in the last zone, recovering from each of the zones except the first a quantity of coolant raisedV in temperature by heat absorbed from arti-cles in the same zone, applying the warmed coolant thus recovered from each zone to articles only in the adjacent preceding zone, and subjecting the articles moistened by the coolant to a `continuous stream of fresh air owing successively through said zones in a direction opposite to the direction of movement of the articles to increase evaporation of coolant on the articles.
2. A cooler for heated articles comprising la housing having an yarticle inlet and an article outlet spaced apart horizontally, said housing having a plurality of cooling zones therein, means for advancing la procession of the articles through said zones from the inlet to the outlet, means for introducing evaporative liquid coolant to the housing and applying it to the articles within a zone adjacent the outlet, means associated with each of the zones for collecting coolant after application of the same to said articles, coolant recirculating means associated with each of said collecting means for applying the coolant collected thereby solely to the articles in the adjacent zone nearer the article inlet, and means associated with said housing for continuously circulating air through all zones in said housing in a direction opposite the direction of article movement.
3. A cooler for heated articles, comprising a housing having an article inlet and an article outlet spaced apart horizontally, said housing having a plurality of cooling zones therein, means for advancing a procession of the articles through said zones from the inlet to the outlet, means for introducing coolant to the housing, means associated with each ot said zones for collecting coolant after application of the same to said articles, means in each of said zones for applying coolant to articles, and a coolant recirculating means including ya single conduit having valve controlled connections to each of said coolant collecting means for variably connecting said coolant applying means with selected of said coolant collecting means to regulate the rate of cooling of articles within the cooler.
4. Cooling apparatus comprising a horizontally elongated housing having an article inlet and an article outlet horizontally spaced apart, said housing having a plurality Y 7 of cooling zones therein, means for advancing articles Vwithin therhousing from the inlet to the outletjand progressiverly throughf said zones, means for introducing liquidtcoolantsto ,the housing, ycoolant collecting means extending longitudinally of the housing, means deninga plurality of zones in said collecting means, a conduit leading from each of said zones, ra control valvein each of said conduits, a header pipe communicating with all of said conduits, a control valve in said header pipe between each two adjacent conduits, a plurality of manifold tubes arranged adjacent said article advancing means in dilerentlocations therealong, conduits connecting said manifold tubesgtolsaid header pipe at Ydifferent parts there- Yof, and, a pump interposed between each of the manifold Vtubes and the headerl pipe, all of said valves being individually ,adjustable tofdetermine with which of said zones of the collecting means each of said pumps communicates.
5.Y Apparatus for Cooling canned goods, comprising a housing having a can'inlet and a ycan outlet, means within thehousing for'co'nveying the cans from the can inlet t0 vthe can outlet vand for rolling the cans about their individual axes to agitate their contents, a plurality of groups of nozzles, each nozzle being arranged to direct a spray of water onto cans on the conveying means, means for supplying cold water to a group of nozzles adjacent said can outlet, recirculating means including a plurality of means for collecting water at different locations within the housing spaced at various distances from said can outlet, and ya single conduit having valve controlled connections to each of said water collecting means for selectively conducting water vtherefrom to predetermined groups of said nozzles other than the group thereof supplied with said cold water.
V8 l l 6. In a cooler, a horizontally disposed generally cylindricalv housing, means within the housing dening a spiral canway, means for progressing cans along the Ycanway, groups of spray devices mounted in the housingY both inside and outside the canway, means for supplying liquid coolant to the'housing, :coolant collecting means extending longitudinally Aof the housing below the canway, means for drawing coolant from the collecting means in each of a plurality of zones disposed successively `along the collecting means, and a'feedback network including conduits and valves and said coolant drawing means interconnecting said coolant collecting means and said groups of spray devices for connecting each of said coolant collecting means toa predetermined group of said spray devices, the temperature ofcoolant in said collecting means being progressively warmerin zones disposed upstream relative to the movement of said cans.
References Cited inthe file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,106,033 Eick Aug. 4, 1914 1,518,552 Babendreer Dec. 9, 1924 1,655,954 Herold Jan. 10, 1928 1,693,995 Williams Dec. 4,1928 1,803,994 Chapman May 5, 1931 2,282,187 Herold May 5, 1942 2,314,871 De Back Mar. 30,1943 2,536,116 Wilbur Jan. 2, 1951 2,569,645 Viall Oct. 2, 1951 2,585,213 Y Baker Feb. 12, 1952