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Publication numberUS3331418 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJul 18, 1967
Filing dateMay 9, 1966
Priority dateMay 9, 1966
Publication numberUS 3331418 A, US 3331418A, US-A-3331418, US3331418 A, US3331418A
InventorsAmori Joseph A
Original AssigneeAmori Joseph A
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Method and machine for halving and pitting drupes
US 3331418 A
Images(8)
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

J. A. AMORI Jul 18, 1967 METHOD AND MACHINE FOR HALVING AND FITTING DRUPES 8 Sheets-Sheet 1 Original Filed May 14, 1965 INVENTOR. ANTONE AMOR/ OBJOSEPH ATTO/PNE y;

3 1957 J. A. AMOR! 3,333,41g

METHOD AND MACHINE FOR HALVING AND FITTING DRUPES Original Filed May 14, 1965 8 Sheets-$heet 2 INVENTOR. JOSEPH AN TONE AMO/P/ ATZQ/PNEVS J. A. AMORI Juiy 18, 1967 METHOD AND MACHINE FOR HALVING AND FITTING DRUPES 8 Sheets-Sheet 5 Original Filed May 14, 1965 INVENTOR. JOSEPH ANTONE AMO/P/ 7 AZTO/P/VEYS J. A. AMOR] July 18, 1967 METHOD AND MACHINE FOR HALVING AND FITTING DRUPES 8 Sheets-Sheet 4 Original Filed May 14, 1965 INVENTOR. JOSEPH ANTONE AMO/P/ A TTO/PNEVS July 18, 1967 J. A. AMORI 3,331,433

METHOD AND MACHINE FOR HALVING AND FITTING DRUPES Original Filed May 14, 1965 8 Sheets-Sheet 5 .ii 62 llll/mzmllllilrlllllm 56 48 INVENTOR. I Q i r JOSEPH ANTO/VE AMOR/ A r TORNE VS July 18, 1967 J. A. AMORI 3,331,418

METHOD AND MACHINE FOR HALVING AND FITTING DRUPES Original Filed May 14, 1965 8 Sheets-Sheet 6 M 0 BIQ INVENTOR, JOSEPH ANTONE AMOR/ ATTORNEYS J. A. AMOR] July 18, 1967 METHOD AND MACHINE FOR HALVING AND FITTING DRUPES 8 Sheets-Sheet '7 Original Filed May 14, 1965 JOSEPH ANTONE AMOR/ Whi ATTORNEYS J. A. AMORI METHQD AND MACHINE FOR HALVING AND FITTING DRUPES 8 Sheets-Sheet 8 Original Filed May 14, 1965 INVENTOR. JOSFPH ANT ONE AMO/P/ United States 3,331,413 Patented July 18, 1967 3,331,418 METHOD AND MACHINE FOR HALVING AND FITTING DRUPES Joseph A. Amori, 1596 Davis St, San Jose, Calif. 95126 Continuation of application Ser. No. 459,146, May 14, 1965, which is a continuation of application Ser. No. 258,426, Feb. 14, 1963. This application May 9, 1966, Ser. No. 565,023

18 Claims. (Cl. 146-238) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE Apparatus including a pair of opposed drupe carrier members having a common axis of rotation and having mounted on their interjacent faces sets of finger elements adapted to grip a drupe supported between said carrier members when said members are rotated in one direction and adapted to release said drupe when said members are rotated in the opposite direction, the finger elements of each set having corresponding ends mounted on pivot axes parallel to the common axis of rotation of the carrier members and having their other ends free for swinging movement toward and away from the central drupe supporting portion of their associated carrier member, the finger elements of each set having drupe-engageable surfaces which are convexly arcuate lengthwise thereof and which are transversely shaped to urge an engaged drupe toward the other set of finger elements.

This application is a continuation of my co-pending application for United States Letters Patent, Ser. No. 459,146, filed May 14, 1965, for Method and Machine for Halving and Pitting Drupes, now abandoned; said application, Ser. No. 459,146, having been in turn a continuation of my then co-pending application, Ser. No. 258,426, filed Feb. 14, 1963, for Drupe Halving and Pitting Machine, now abandoned.

This invention relates to drupe halving and pitting equipment, and more particularly to a machine of this type which is particularly adapted for the halving and pitting of difiicultly pittable fruit, such as clingstone peaches, in a manner to avoid any mutilation or other objectionable surface marking of the fruit and in a manner which minimizes the loss of fruit flesh by adherence of the same to the pit.

An object of the invention is the provision of a halving and pitting machine of the type described and which further embodies a plurality of fruit halving and pitting assemblies which are movable continuously and successively through the following sequence of principal stations: a fruit pick-up station; a gripping station; a slicing and pit gripping station; two twist-oh stations where the fruit halves are separately and sequentially twisted free of the fruit pit; a fruit half release station; and a pit release station.

A further object of the invention is the provision of a machine of the type described embodying new and improved means for separately and sequentially spinning the opposite sides of a fruit during the time that knife means are in gripping engagement with the fruit pit.

Another object of the invention is the provision in a machine of the type described of new and improved fruit pit gripper and torque applicator means.

Another object of the invention is the provision in a machine of the type described of new and improved pit gripping means which operate to grip a pit tighter in proportion to the torque required to twist a fruit half free from the pit and which bite the pit in such a way that there can be no slippage of the pit relative to the gripping means.

Still a further object of the invention is to provide a torque pitter of the type broadly described wherein the fruit gripping means consist solely of pivotally mounted fingers which are swingable radially with respect to the fruit from non-gripping to gripping positions, said fruit gripping means being devoid of any gripping elements which are movable toward and away from the fruit axially to engage and grip the fruit at the opposed ends of its horizontal diametral axis.

Still a further object of the invention is the provision on said gripping elements of fruit gripping surfaces which constitute part of a true cam or eccentric.

Yet a further object of the invention is the provision of fruit gripping means adapted to properly engage and grip peaches which range in size from maximum to minimum, the minimum size being approximately two inches in diameter.

And yet a further object of the invention is the provision of a torque pitter of the type broadly described which is adapted to properly halve and pit clingstone peaches throughout the range of extremes of greenness and hardness, on the one hand, to overripe and soft peaches, on the other hand, and to do so without imparting surface markings or damage to the fruit.

A further object of the invention is the provision of a torque pitter of the type broadly described which embodies pit gripping knife means adapted to prevent pit slippage relative thereto no matter what the positional attitude of the pit is with respect to the jaw portions of the knife means when the pit becomes initially clamped between them.

A still further object of the invention is the provision of a torque pitter of the type broadly described which is capable of properly and efiiciently slicing and pitting clingstone peaches at a much faster rate than previously known and used torque pitters for clingstone peaches.

These and other objects and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following description taken in conjunction with the drawings forming part of this specification, and in which:

FIG. 1 is a View in right-side elevation of the subject pitter;

FIG. 2 is a view in left-side elevation of the pitter;

FIG. 2A is a detail view taken along lines 2A-2A of FIG. 2;

FIG. 2B is an enlarged detail view, taken along lines 2B2B of FIG. 2A;

FIG. 3 is an enlarged view, partly in section, as taken along lines 33 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a view, partly in section, as taken along lines 44 of FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is a view, 5-5 of FIG. 3;

FIG. 6 is a view, partly in section, as taken along lines 6-6 of FIG. 3, FIGS. 5 and 6 showing, respectively, the knife jaws in open position and said jaws in closed position in tightly gripping relation with a fruit pit;

FIG. 6A is an enlarged detail view taken along lines 6A6A of FIG. 6 and showing the manner in which the improved pit gripping means embodied in the pitter forming the subject invention engages a pit and thereby prevents any relative movement, or slippage, between the pit and the pit gripping means;

FIG. 7 is an enlarged view in :front elevation of one of the fruit carrier components of the subject pitter;

FIG. 7A is an enlarged detail view in section taken along lines 7A7A of FIG. 7;

FIG. 7B is an enlarged detail view in section taken along lines 7B7B of FIG. 7;

partly broken away,

partly in section, as taken along lines FIG. 7C is a partial view of the type of FIG. 7, but showing two of the five fruit gripping fingers as having been rotated in a counterclockwise direction with respect to the position shown for said two fingers in FIG. 7;

FIG. 7D is an enlarged detail view taken along lines 7D7D of FIG. 7C;

FIG. 8 is a view in rear elevation, partly broken away, of a fruit carrier component, such as that shown in FIG. 7;

FIG. 9 is a detail view, partly in section and partly in elevation, of the outer end of one of the shafts which serves to move one of the fruit carrier components toward and away from the other such component constituting a pair and for rotating the fruit carrier component, the shaft being shown in the position where the two fruit carrier components of a pair are separated from each other;

FIG. 10 is a view of the type of that of FIG. 9, but showing the shaft position corresponding to the condition when the fruit carrier components of a pair are in engagement with a fruit;

FIG. 11 is an enlarged detail view in section, as taken along the lines 1111 of FIG. 9;

FIG. 12 is an enlarged detail view in section, along the lines 12-12 of FIG. 9;

FIGS. 13-16 are views which illustrate, respectively, in a sequential manner the following conditions: the positions of fruit carrier components of a pair relative to a fruit prior to the engagement of said fruit by said components; the engagement and gripping of a fruit by the fruit carrier components, the halving of the fruit and the gripping of the pit thereof by the knife jaws and the turning of the fruit halves relative to the pit by the respective fruit carrier components; and the open condition of the fruit carrier components to permit release of the fruit halves while the pit is being held between the knife jaws;

FIG. 17 is a view in perspective of the control cam system for the fruit carrier components of a pair; and

FIG. 18 is a schematic illustration of the approximate timing diagram which illustrates the sequence of operation of the fruit halving and pitting elements of the torque pitter of the invention during the course of a single cycle of operation of the machine.

Referring now to the drawings, the machine comprises a support frame having interconnected vertically disposed components such as 10 and 12 and horizontally disposed components such as 14, 16 and 18. Frame components as taken 10-18 are further tied together by other horizontal frame components, not shown, which are disposed mutually perperpendicular to those frame components shown.

A main, or center shaft 26 is journalled for rotation in bearing blocks 22 mounted on frame components 16. Drive means for shaft comprise motor 24 atop the frame, motor drive shaft sprocket 26, sprocket 28 secured to shaft 20, and chain 30 trained around sprockets 26 and 28.

Secured to shaft 20 for rotation therewith are four multi-armed spiders,-comprising, as one of a set of four arms (FIG. 3) 32, 34, 36 and 38, each of said spiders beingcomposed of four arms angularly spaced at 90 intervals, with each of the arms of one such set of four, i.e., arms 32, 34, 36 and 38, being in alignment and in parallel and constituting the support means for one of the four fruit halving and pitting assemblies embodied in the particular form of the pitting machine illustrated. Since each of these fruit halving and pitting assemblies is similar to the other, only one of them will be described in detail, with corresponding reference numbers being employed for all four assemblies. This description will be set forth under the following subject headings: the sub-assembly for car rying and gripping the fruit; the sub-assembly for slicing the fruit and gripping the pit; the sub-assembly for disattaching the fruit halves from the pit; the sub-assembly for releasing and discharging the separated fruit halves and pits; and the subassembly for transferring whole fruit 4 from an orienter to the carrying sembly.

and gripping sub-as.-

The sub-assembly for carrying and gripping the fruit Supported for both rotational and sliding movement by the outer ends of arms 32 and 34 (FIG. 3) in a shaft 40, and similarly supported for similar movements in the ends of arms 36 and 38 (FIG. 3) is a shaft 42. Mounted on the inner ends of shafts 40 and 42 are fruit carriers indicated generally at 44 and shown in detail in FIGS. 7-8. Each of the shafts 4t) and 42 is fixedly secured to a hub element 46 which in turn has secured to one end thereof a plate 48, the latter rotatably supporting pins 54 which extend through the plate43 and have secured thereto at one end fruit gripping fingers 56-and at'the other end crank arms 58.

The fruit gripping fingers 56 are provided with working, or fruit gripping, serrated metal surfaces 66. The surfaces 60 are convexly arcuate lengthwise and are angularly inclined crosswise toward the outer ends of pins 54. Each of the five fingers 56 is preferably a part of a one-half inch eccentric. 7

In FIGURE 7, the fingers 56 are shown in their open, or non-fruit engaging, position, being urged in a counterclockwise direction by springs 62 but being restrained against such movement by means now to be described.

Freely mounted on each hub 46 and prevented from movement longitudinally of shaft 40 or 42 by the end flanges of said hub is a spool 64 having end walls 66 and 6S and being provided with a peripheral groove 70. The

endwall 68 is provided with a plurality of alike cam slots 72 within which are disposed roller pins 74 carried by the crank arms 58, the latter having a fixed connection with the fruit engaging fingers 56 through the pins 54.

When the roller pins 74 are disposed at the high ends of the cam slots 72, as in FIGURE 8, the fingers 56 are in the position of FIGURE 7 and the springs 62 are prevented from moving the fingers into closed, or fruit-engaging, position.

Considering that spool 64 is held essentially stationary, by way of means'hereinafter described, it will be appreciated, with reference to FIG. 8, that clockwise rotation of shaft 40 will cause clockwise rotation-of pins 54 and consequent movement of roller pins 74 toward the low ends of the cam slots 72, thereby enabling the springs 62 to move the fingers 56 to a closed, or fruit-engaging, posinon.

Disposed centrally of the metal plate 48 is a frustospherical depression 76. The depression 76 is adapted to engage and hold a fruit when the fruit carrier components 44 are moved together from their position shown'in FIG- URE 13 to their position shown in FIGURE 14, the fruit being thereafter gripped by the fingers 56.

The fingers 56 are undercut at 77 to permit the tip of one finger to swing beneath part of an adjacent finger, thereby enabling the fingers 56 to swing inwardly to a closed position to the degree necessary to engage even the smallest diameter fruit, e.g., peaches which are two inches in size.

Means for moving the fruit carrier components 44 of a pair of such components toward each other for engaging and holding a fruit and away from each other for releasing the fruit halves after the fruit has been processed and for enabling anew fruit to be placed between them comprise the following: a cam 78 having its hub 80 freely sleeved on center shaft 20 (FIGS. 3, 4 and 17), said cam being 7 held against endwise movement by bearing 22 and set collar 82 and being held against rotative movement-by a tie arm 84 attached to a frame component, a first control shaft 86 having a roller element 88 in engagement with the cam track 89 of cam 78, said control shaft.86 extending through arms 34, 36 and 33 for endwise sliding movement in said elements; a second control shaft 92 disposed parallel to the first control shaft 86 and being also slidably carried by arms 34, 36 and 38; means to impart endwise movement in one direction to control shaft 92 when control shaft 86 is being moved endwise in the other direction comprising an arm 94 fixedly secured to center shaft 20 and carrying a stud 96 to which a cross link 98 is pivotally attached, and a pivotal and slidable connection between the outer ends of the cross link and stud elements 100, one of the latter being secured to a collar 102 which in turn is secured to control shaft 86, and the other of said stud elements being secured to a collar 104 which is secured to the control shaft 92; a radius arm 106 having one end fixedly secured to control shaft 86 and having its other end so connected to shaft 42 as to be able to impart endwise movement to said shaft without interfering with rotative movement of the shaft; another radius arm 108 having the same relationship between control shaft 92 and shaft 40 as the radius arm 106 has with respect to control shaft 86 and shaft 42; and a spring 110 interconnecting one end of the cross link 98 with arm 38 and thereby tending to: maintain the cross link 98 in the solid line position shown in FIGURE 4; move the shafts 40 and 42 toward each other; and hold the roller 88 against the cam 78.

Before describing the further operational elements and the mode of operation of the subject sub-assembly, reference is bad in FIGURES 1 and 2 to stations designated by the reference letters A, B, C, and D which correspond to the positions shown for the four fruit halving and pitting assemblies of the machine at a particular point during the cycle of 360 rotation of these four assemblies. It will be appreciated that the direction of rotation of the center shaft 20 is clockwise in FIGURE 1 and counterclockwise in FIGURE 2. Station A represents the fruit feeding station, and FIGURE 13 indicates generally the relative position between the associated fruit carrier components of a pair and an individual fruit 111 at Station A.

After only a slight degree of movement of a slicing and pitting head assembly upwardly toward Station B from Station A the roller 88 moves toward the low point of cam 78 to thereby enable spring 110 to move the cross link 98 from the dotted line position of FIGURE 4 to the solid line position of FIGURE 4 and thereby move the control shafts 86 and 92 to eflfect movement toward each other of shafts 40 and 42 and the respective fruit carriers 44 carried thereby. This causes the depressions 76 of the carriers 44 to engage and hold a friut which has been positioned between the carriers. The roller 88 reaches the low point of cam 78 when the smallest fruit to be handled by the machine is between the carriers 44. With larger fruit the depressions 76 engage the fruit, and the fruit effectively resists further movement toward each other of the carriers 44 under the influence of spring 110. In other words, the holding force applied to the fruit by a pair of carriers 44 is, generally speaking, equal to the tension load on spring 110. This holding force which is applied to the fruit is substantially less than the resistance of a fruit, even an overripe soft one, to compression by the spring-urged carriers 44. When the spring 110 is prevented by the size of a fruit engaged between the carriers 44 from causing roller 88 to reach the low point of cam 78, subsequent rotation of the center shaft 2!} causes the roller 88 to leave the cam track 89 and travel around the cam 78 out of engagement therewith. Roller 88 reengages the cam track 89 at a point on the other low side of the cam track 89 after the roller 88 has travelled less than a complete revolution about the center shaft 20.

Such positioning of the fruit between the carriers 44 at Station A may be effected by hand or in any other desired manner, as, for example, by the transfer system hereinafter described. In whatever manner the individual fruit is individually positioned between the fruit carriers at Station A, it is desirable that the sutureline of the fruit be disposed generally in a vertical plane that said plane be located generally at a right angle with respect to the shafts 40 and 42. A disparity between the actual orienta- 6 tion of the suture line and its desired position does not affect the halving and pitting efiiciency of the subject machine.

The fruit carriers, or heads, 44 of a pair of such carriers are disposed in the close together positions shown in FIGS. 14 and 15 between Station A and a point between Stations D and A (see FIG. 18). When said point is reached, the roller 88 is again on the high part of cam 78, and, when the roller has reached the position on the cam, the control shafts 86 and 92 have been moved in the opposite directions against the resistance of spring to effect endwise movement away from each other of shafts 40 and 42 thus effecting movement of the carriers, or heads, 44 to the position shown in FIGS. 13 and 16.

Means are provided to hold the spool elements 64 of the fruit carriers 44 relatively stationary with respect to the shafts 40 and 42, and means further are provided to rotate the shafts 40 and 42 simultaneously together in one direction to cause movement of the fruit gripping fingers 56 from the non-gripping position shown in FIGURE 7 to a fruit gripping position and for later on simultaneously rotating shafts 40 and 42 in the other or reverse direction to cause the fingers 56 to be moved from a fruit gripping position to the non-gripping position of FIGURE 7.

The means for maintaining the spools 64 relatively stationary on the shafts 40 and 42 comprise a belt 112 trained in the groove 70 of each spool 64, one end of the belt being secured to a spring 114 and the other end of the belt being connected to a spring 116, said springs 114 and 116 being connected (FIG. 8) to an auxiliary arm 117 which is carried by one or the other of main arms 34 and 36.

Each strap 112 and its two end springs 114 and 116 act as a friction brake for a spool 64. This will be de scribed in more detail hereinafter.

The points of connection between the springs 114 and 116 and arms 117 remain fixed when the spools 64 are being moved toward or away from each other by endwise movement of shafts 40 and 42 under the influence of endwise movement of the control shafts 86 and 92, and thus the straps 112 may be said to swing back and forth about the centers constituted by the points of connection between the springs 114 and 116 with arms 117 during the course of axial movement of the spools 64 toward and away from each other.

FIGS. 9-12 illustrate in detail how the shafts 40 and 42 are rendered movable endwise without effecting their condition of being rotatable. FIGS. 9-12 show such details only with respect to shaft 42, but it is to be understood that the same detailed system is employed in connection with shaft 40. A hearing housing 118 is fitted within the apertured end of arm 38 and locked in position with respect to said arm, as by snap ring 120 and housing shoulder 122. A roller bearing 124 is fitted on shaft 42 and fixedly positioned thereon by snap rings 126 disposed within grooves formed in said shaft. Bearing 124 thus serves to suitably support the outboard end of shaft 42 for rotation regardless of Whether the bearing 124 is disposed at the outer end or the inner end of housing 118. A similar bearing housing 118 is mounted in the lower end of arm 36 to suitably support the inboard end of shaft 42 for rotation.

Mounted on the outer end of shaft 42 is a double sheave consisting of sheave 128 and sheave 130, said sheaves having an integrated hub 132. The hub 132 is connected to shaft 42 for rotation with the latter by means comprising elongated semi-cylindrical grooves 134 formed in the shaft, elongated semi-cylindrical grooves 136 formed in hub 132, and steel balls 138 which extend into the grooves 134 and 136. A keeper ring 140 is secured to the outer end of the hub 132 to maintain the balls 138 in captured relation to the two sets of semi-cylindrical grooves. With this arrangement, it will be seen that rotation of the hub 132 by a rotative force applied to either one of the sheaves 128 and will impart rotative movement to the shaft 42 regardless of whether the shaft is 7 locatedoutwardly of the sheave set 128-130, as in FIG. 9, or inwardly of said sheave set, as in FIG. 10, i.e., regardless of whether the fruit carriers 44 are in the apart position of FIGS. 13 and 16 or in'the together position of FIGS. 14 and 15. Shifting movement of the sheave set on the shaft is prevented by the keeper bracket 142, one end of which is affixed to arm 38 and the other end of which resides in groove 144 formed in hub 132.

Mounted within the frame is a pair of parallel and vertically disposed ring elements 146 (FIGS. 1 and 2) to which are connected a pair of belts 148, said belts being trained over guide rollers 15% connected to elements 146 and being thereafter connected to said elements by springs 152. Belts 148 are disposed in the path of movement of the sheaves 130, and, as the fruit carriers 44 are rotated about the center shaft from Station A to Station B, the sheaves 130 engage the belts 148 just after Station A is passed (see also FIG. 18). The belts 148 rotate the sheaves 131) in a clockwise direction (with reference to FIG. 2),

thereby rotating shafts 40 and 42 in a clockwise direction.

The plates 48 carrying the fruit gripping fingers 56 are thus caused to move in a clockwise direction with respect to the relatively stationary spool portions 64 of fruit carriers 44, thereby permitting roller pins 74 to move toward the inner ends of the cam slots 72 under the influence of springs 62.

The springs 62 are merely strong enough to cause the fingers 56 to be moved into engagement with the fruit. Once relative rotative movement between the plates 48 and the spools 64, as immediately above described, enables the springs 62 to move the fingers 56 into engagement with the fruit, a gripping action of the surfaces 60 of fingers 56 on the fruit thereafter results by virtue of further relative rotative movement of the plates 48 with respect to the spools 64 under the influence of belts 148 on sheaves 130. With reference to FIG. 7, this rotative movement of the plates 48 takes place in a counterclockwise direction. The shape and weight distribution of the fingers 56 relative to the pins 54 causes the fingers 56 to tend to swing around the pins 54 in a counterclockwise (FIG. 7) direction while plate 48 carrying the fingers 56.

is rotated in a counterclockwise direction. It is this inertia effect of the fingers 56 which causes the fruit to be relatively tightly gripped between the two sets of fingers carried by a pair of carriers 44.

This inertia effect of the two sets of fingers is sufficiently great to cause the fruit to be rotated solely by virtue of the contact of the fingers 56 therewith, and not by any frictional engagement between the fruit and the surfaces of the depressions 76 of plates 48. Thus, the plates 48 do not serve as fruit gripping means by way of the surfaces of depression 7 6.

The fingers 56 are so shaped that a straight line running from the axis of pivot pin 54 to the point of contact of finger surface 60 with a fruit will always be in the same plane, regardless of the size of the fruit engaged by the finger surface 60. Such a line only varies in length in accordance with the size of the fruit contacted. Thus, the angle of application of finger pressure is constant for all sizes of fruit.

Since each of the fingers 56 is independent in its action with respect to the other fingers, the position of rest of the fingers when they are in gripping relation with a fruit may vary in accordance with any particular surface irregularity on the fruit encountered by a finger.

The fingers 56 remain in closed position for approximately 210 of rotation of the center shaft 20 (see FIG. 18).

A pair of belts 155 are positioned to engage and rotate the sheaves 130 as the fruit carriers 44 are moved between Stations C and B. The belts 155 are trained about driver sheaves 155 and idler sheaves 157 and 161. The driver sheaves 159 and the idler sheaves 157 are appropriately supported by means attached to the frame for rotation about fixed axes. This idler sheaves 161 are rotatably mounted at the ends of lever arms 163, the latter cured, and a drive chain trained around sprockets 171 and 173.

With reference to FIGURE 2, engagement of the moving belts 155 with the sheaves 130 imparts a counterclockwise rotation to sheaves 130, shafts 40 and 42, and

to the finger carrying plate elements 48 of the fruit carriers 44. Such rotative movement of the plates 48 relative to the spool elements 64 of the fruit carriers causes the roller pins 74 to be moved to the outer end of cam slots 72, thereby swinging the fingers 56 to the open position shown in FIGURE 7. Opening of the fingers 56 releases the fruit from the fruit carriers and uncovers the depressions 76 formed in plates 48 so that another fruit may be fed between the carriers 44 at Station A.

The fingers 56 remain in the open position of FIGURE 7 until the sheaves disengage from the moving belts at a point between Stations A and B, said point being adjacent Station A (see FIG. 18). Substantially immediately thereafter the sheaves 130 are engaged by belts 148 and rotated in the opposite direction to effect closing action of fingers 56, as above described.

The sub-assembly for slicing the fruit and gripping the pit Each of the four fruit halving and pitting assemblies is provided with an upper knife-wrench element 156 and has fixedly secured thereto a mounting plate 166 to which there is secured the upper knife-wrench element 156. The inner end of sleeve shaft 164 has fixedly secured thereto a mounting plate 168 to which is fixedly attached the lower knife-wrench element 158.

The upper knife-wrench element 156, which in side profile has generally the form of the upper jaw portion of a Stillson wrench, is provided with a knife edge 170 and with a toothed edge 174. The lower knife-wrench 158 is provided with a knife edge 176 and a toothed edge 178. An important feature as far as the pit-gripping portion of the subject sub-assembly is concerned is that the individual teeth forming the toothed edges 174 and 178 are tapered to come to sharp points, as shown in FIG. 6A.

The means for moving these knife-wrench, or slicing and gripping, elements toward each other to the position in FIGURE 6 and away from each other to the position shown in FIGURE 5 comprise the following. A cam 180 (FIGS. 2 and 3) is mounted on center shaft 26 but is fixed against rotative movement by a tie arm .182 which is fixedly secured to the cam and to one of the frame components. Associated with cam 180 is a shaft 184 which is supported for rotation by arms 32, 34 and 36. Four shafts 184 areprovided in the machine, one for each of the fruit halving and pitting assemblies. The outer end of shaft 184 is provided with a crank arm 186. A roller 188 is carried by the outer end of the crank arm 186 and 9 with gear wheel 194. The sleeve shaft 164 and shaft 184 are provided, respectively, with crank arms 198 and 200, said crank arms being interconnected by a link 202 (FIGS. and 6).

Referring now to FIG. 2, it will be seen that the cam follower roller 183 is disposed at the farthest distance from center shaft in the vicinity of Station D. With the roller in this position, the knife-wrench elements 156 and 158 are in the open or spread apart position shown in FIG. 5. This condition obtains until the follower 188 nears the Station A position. The contour of cam 180 then permits the follower 188 to move somewhat closer to the center shaft 20 under the influence of spring 190. Spring 190 thereby moves the crank arm 186 in a counterclockwise direction, with reference to FIGS. 2 and 5, thereby imparting a counterclockwise rotative movement to shaft 184 and gear wheel 194. Gear wheel 196 is thereby caused to rotate in a clockwise direction to impart the same movement to sleeve shaft 162 and to knifewrench element 156. The counterclockwise motion of shaft 184 imparts a counterclockwise motion to sleeve shaft 164 by means of crank arm 200, link 202, and crank arm 198. This motion of sleeve shaft 164 moves knifewrench element 158 in a counterclockwise direction.

At about the time this initial movement together of the knife-wrench elements takes place the fingers 56 are being moved, as previously described, into engagement with the fruit. Also, the fruit carriers 44 are rotating to close the fingers 56 by virtue of the engagement between the belts 148 and sheaves 130. Thus, the knife-wrench elements begin to close at about the time fingers 56 commence to close (see FIG. 18). The fruit is sliced partially through by the knife edges 170 and 176 of the knife- Wrench elements before the knife-wrench elements have fully closed to grip the pit (FIG. 18). This preliminary slicing takes place along the suture line of the fruit.

When the fruit carriers 44 have fairly closely approached Station B, the cam follower roller 188 has reached the low point on cam 180, thereby enabling spring 190 to complete the closing together of the knifewrench elements so that the relative position of these elements illustrated in FIGS. 6 and 6A is reached. When this condition has been reached, the fruit has been sliced through completely and the fruit pit, indicated at 204 in FIGS. 6 and 6A, has been tightly gripped between the pointed teeth of edges 174 and 178 of the knife-wrench elements.

The pit 204 is tightly gripped and rendered immobile with respect to the knife-wrench elements from a point prior to Station B to a point well past Station C, i.e., until the sheaves 130 are rotated by the belts 155 to move the fingers 56 out of their fruit gripping position.

Between Station C and Station A the knife-wrench elements are opened to the position of FIG. 5 by forced clockwise rotation, with reference to FIG. 2, of the crank arm 186 as the cam follower roller 188 is moved to the high point of the cam. At Stattion A, the knifewrench elements are open to permit the feed of another fruit to the fruit carriers at this station.

The importance of the sharply pointed form of the teeth constituting the jaw edges 174 and 178 can be readily understood by reference to FIG. 6A. The pit 204 of a clingstone peach is provided with an overall pattern of pock marks, or small irregular depressions, 205. Thus, when the teeth of the edges 174 and 178 come into gripping engagement with the pit, the teeth not only tightly grip the pit but lock the pit against any possible slippage movement of the pit relative to the pointed teeth contacting it.

Torque pitters heretofore known and used have employed pit-gripping jaws wherein the teeth were provided With relatively sharp edges rather than points. Hence, unless these teeth came into gripping relation with the pit when the pit was properly oriented in the sense of having its suture line properly presented to the edges of the teeth it was quite possible, and in fact it frequently occurred, for slippage to result between the pit and the teeth. This in turn frequently resulted in the production of a reject fruit in the sense that it was not sliced and pitted or had not been handled up to standards in these respects.

The sub-assembly for disaztaching the fruit halves from the pit Once the knife-wrench elements have clamped upon the fruit pit, as in FIGS. 6 and 6A, the operations of fruit halving and pit gripping have been performed and the remaining operation to be performed on the fruit is the separation of the fruit halves from the pit. This operation takes place between Stations B and D (FIG. 18). This is achieved by spinning the fruit carriers 44 in the direction which maintains the fruit gripping fingers 56 in gripping relation to the fruit, i.e., in a clockwise direction with reference to FIG. 2 and in a counterclockwise direction With reference to FIG. 1.

This spinning motion of the fruit carriers is accomplished by engagement of the sheaves 128 with belts 206 (FIG. 2) and 208 (FIG. 1), with belt 206 engaging the sheave 128 which is secured to shaft 40, and with belt 203 engaging the sheave 128 which is secured to shaft 42. As was the case with the finger actuating belts 148, belts 206 and 208 have one end anchored to the ring elements 146 and have their other ends trained around guide rollers 210 and connected to springs 212, the latter being in this instance attached to the ring element 146, as illustrated in FIG. 1, or the frame component 12, as illustrated in FIG. 2.

A comparison of FIG. 1 and FIG. 2 will indicate that belt 206 is offset with respect to belt 208. Hence, at about Station B (FIG. 18) the fruit carrier 44 carried by shaft 40 is caused to rotate by belt 206 before the fruit carrier 44 carried by shaft 42 is started to rotate by belt 208. Thus, the twisting free from the relatively stationary pit of the fruit half gripped by the fruit carrier 44 carried by shaft 40 is commenced and ended before the comparable operation for the fruit half gripped by the fruit carrier mounted on shaft 42.

When the twisting free of one fruit half is commenced and ended prior to the twisting free of the other fruit half, as compared with the simultaneous commencement of twisting free of the halves, the torque impact on the immobilized pit is reduced, thereby preventing the splitting of pits during the operation of separating the halves from the pit.

FIGURES 6 and 7 indicate that during the pit-freeing operation the fruit carriers 44 are rotated in the direction in which the narrow ends of the fingers 56 lead the pivoted ends of said fingers. As previously stated, the springs 62 serve to urge the fingers 56 into engagement with the fruit. The principal component of the total gripping force applied to the fruit when the heads 44 are rotated while the pit is gripped is derived from the inertia effect of the fingers caused by rotation of the heads. The total gripping force applied to the fruit by the fingers is therefore the total of inertia force of the fingers plus the total tension in springs 62 when the fruit has been engaged by the fingers. In testing a prototype of the subject machine it was found that the fingers 56 imparted no damage or surface markings to the fruit and that the fingers 56 would even eflfeet removal of the halves of overripe and mushy clingstone peaches without squashing the same.

The shape of the fruit gripping surfaces 60 of the fingers 56 is such as to tend to cam the fruit halves away from the fingers 56 and against the sides of the knife-wrench elements 156 and 158 when said elements are in gripping relation with a pit. Thus, the fruit halves are effectively and firmly gripped by the force effect applied to the fruit halves by the fingers and the reaction force effect of the side surfaces of the knife-wrench elements to the camming force effect applied to the fruit halves by finger surfaces 60.

' 44 is being rotated to twist a fruit An interesting operational and functional advantage attending the use of the knife-wrench elements 156 and 158 can be understood by reference to FIG. 6, wherein the pit 204 has been tightly gripped and the fruit carrier half 205 free of the pit. The clockwise movement of the carrier imparts a clockwise movement to the fruit half 205, and the natural connection between the fruit half and the pit tends to cause the pit to rotate in a clockwise direction about a central point in the pit. Such a tendency to clockwise rotation of the pit in turn tends to movethe knife-wrench element 158 upwardly and to move the knife-wrench element 156 downwardly, and the net result of this tendency of the pit to rotate is to cause it to be clamped tighter by the elements 156 and 158. The tighter clamping effect between the elements 156 and 158 and the pit due to the rotative force applied to the pit by the cling connection between the fruit flesh and the pit is similar in effect to the tighter clamping force applied by the jaws of a Stillson wrench to a pipe gripped by such a wrench when the attempt is made torotate the pipe while the jaws of the wrench are in gripping engagement with the pipe.

It has previously been explained that the spool members 68 are relatively stationary with respect to the heads 44. However, the spool members 68 rotate with the heads 44 during the major part of the rotative movement of heads 44 while the fingers 56 are in gripping engagement with the fruit. Such rotative movement of the spool members 68 is caused by the driving connection between the rollers 74 and the cam slots 72. Such rotative movement of the spool members 68 is resisted by the friction straps 112, but the strength of the anchor springs 114 and 116 for belts 112 is insufficient to prevent such rotative movement. When the spool members 68 commence to rotate they drive the straps 112 with them until one or the other of the springs 114 and 116, depending upon whether the heads 44 are being rotated in a direction to close the fingers 56 or open them, become sufiiciently elongated, and thus loaded, so that the pulling force applied to the straps 112 exceeds the friction force applied to the straps 112 by the spool members 68. Thereafter the spool members rotatively slip relative to the straps 112.

However, once the sheave sets constituted by elements 128 and 130 become disengaged from the driven belts 155, or the drag belts 148, or the drag belts 206 and 208, the tendency of the heads to continue to rotate because of their rotative momentum is immediately overcome by the braking effect applied to the spool members by straps 112, said breaking efiect being applied to the heads 44 through the connection constituted by roller pins 74 and cam slots 72.

If the heads 44 are being rotated in a direction to close the fingers 56, the fingers 56 will remain in the closed position after said braking effect has been imparted to the heads 44 by the means described. On the other hand, if the heads 44 are being rotated in a direction to open the fingers 56, the fingers 56 will remain in the open position after the braking eifect has been applied to the heads by the means described.

The sub-assembly for releasing and discharging the separated fruit halves and pits It has previously been described that after sheave 128 on shaft 42 has disengaged itself from belt 208, the shafts 40 and 42 are moved axially away from each other to permit the fruit halves to drop out of the fruit carriers (see FIGS. 16 and 18). The fingers 56 then commence moving back to the retracted condition of the fingers il- Jlustrated in FIG. 7, the same being caused by the belts 155 which impart rotative movement to sheaves 130, as previously described. The knife-wrench elements 156 and 158 then commence movement from their FIGURE 6 to their FIGURE 5 position, thereby releasing the pit.

The relatively slight time lapse between the release of the fruit halves and the subsequent release of the pit enables the collection separately for removal from the site of the machine of the fruit halves on the one hand, the pits on the other hand. No attempt has been made to illustrate such separate collecting and removing means, as various forms of such systems are well known in the art. Instead, FIGS. 1 and 2 merely show a take-oft" conveyor at'the bottom of the machine, with the conveyor having associated therewith side board elements to confine the halves and pits to the conveyor in the area in which these are released from the machine. a

T he sub-assembly for transferring fruit from an orienter to the carrying and gripping sub-assembly 'fruit processing equipment with the suture lines of the fruit disposed in a vertical plane which is parallel with the directional path of movement of the conveyor-orienter 300. The fruits are so oriented when they reach the transfer station which is occupied by the fruit 111 in FIG- URE 2A, said station being generally in alignment with the frame members 12.

Journalled for rotation in bearing members mounted on support members 302 is a shaft 304 to which there is fixedly secured a plate member 306. Pivotally mounted within slots of the plate member 306 on pivot pins 308 are four fruit pick-up arms 310, said arms having hook-shaped ends 312 provided with knife edges-314. Each of the arms 310 carries a stub shaft 316, said shaft 316 extending through edge slots 318 formed in plate 306 and carrying at their outer ends roller elements 320. The stub shafts 316 are urged inwardly of the plate slots 318 by springs 322, the latter serving to thereby maintain the rollers 320 in engagement with cam plates 324. The two cam plates 324 are alike in profile and are freely mounted on shaft 304 and maintained in afixed position interconnecting the cam plates with the support members Shaft 20 serves to drive shaft 304 through interconnecting drive means comprising sprocket 28, chain 328, sprocket 330 mounted on shaft 332 rotatably carried by the frame, gear 334 fixed on shaft 332, and gear 336 fixed on shaft 304. Thus, with reference to FIGURE 2, counterclockwise rotation of the center shaft 20 is converted through the interconnecting means. described to clock wise rotation of shaft 304.

As each arm 310 approaches a downwardly extending position, the hook-shaped end 312'thereofand the knife edge 314 thereof irnpales and oriented fruit 111 and swings the same away from the conveyor-orienter 300 toward Station A. As the fruit carried by an arm 310 becomes disposed between the heads 44 at Station A, the heads come together to engage and hold the fruit. Since the hook-shaped end of the arm 310 in engagement with the fruit moves across the path of travel of the fruit as the latter is carried by the heads 44 from Station A toward Station B, it is necessary to withdraw the hook-shaped end of the arm 310 by relative movement downwardly of the arm 310 with respect to the fruit. This is accomplished by having the rollers 320 of the stub shaft 316 carried by the particular arm 310 travel over a surface portion of the cams 324 which causes the particular stub shaft 316 to be urged outwardly away from shaft 304, thereby rocking the arm 310 in a counterclockwise direction, with reference to FIGS. 2 and 213, about. the pivot pin 308. Thus, even though the particular arm 310 is being moved bodily in a clockwise direction, this bodily movement is offset sufliciently by counterclockwise movement of the arm about its pivot pin to enable the hookshaped end of the arm to, in effect, be withdrawn from the underside of the fruit gripped between the heads 44.

It will be noted from FIG. 2A that the conveyorby anchor arms 326 V 13 orienter system 300 includes inwardly and outwardly movable fruit stabilizing elements 338 which are operable to engage opposite sides of the fruit 111 and hold the fruit in position for proper impalement of the same by the hook-shaped end of each arm 310.

While the fruit gripping fingers 56 are shown and described as being provided with serrated metal surfaces 60 for gripping the fruit, the fingers can be provided with roughened or irregular fruit gripping surfaces instead of serrations and said surfaces need not be formed of metal, i.e., they may be formed of any substantially non-resilient material. Surface-roughened and fairly hard rubber may be satisfactorily employed for the fruit gripping surfaces.

While a specific embodiment of the invention has been shown and described, it is to be understood that various changes and modifications can be made in the machine shown without departing from the spirit of the invention or the scope of the appended claims.

What is claimed is:

1. In a drupe halver and pitter, a pair of axially aligned shafts, means supporting said shafts for rotation and for endwise sliding movement toward and away from each other, drupe carrier members mounted at the adjacently disposed ends of said shafts, a plurality of equi-spaced finger elements, each pivotally mounted about a single axis, on the interjacent faces of said carrier members so as to have free ends remote from their pivotal axes sWingable toward and away from the central portions of said members to respectively engage and be disengaged from a drupe disposed between said central portions, the pivotal axes of said finger elements being parallel to the axes of rotation of said shafts, each of said finger elements on each of said carrier members having a drupe-engageable surface which is convexly arcuate lengthwise thereof and which has a crosswise contour adapted to urge an engaged drupe toward the other carrier member, means responsive to rotative movement of said shafts in one direction to swing said finger elements away from their drupe-engageable positions, and means responsive to rotative movement of said shafts in the other direction to swing said finger elements toward their drupe-engageable positions.

2. The combination of claim 1, including a pair of jaws having toothed edge portions, means rotatably mounting said jaws about a common axis of rotation and means for rotating said jaws partially together to effect a 360 cut in the flesh of a drupe supported between said carrier members.

3. The combination of claim 2, including means for rotating said jaws closer together to cause the toothed edge portions of said jaws to tightly grip the drupe pit between them.

4. The combination of claim 3, including means for rotating said carrier members while the drupe pit is immobilized by the toothed edge portions of said jaws to thereby twist the drupe halves free from said pit.

5. The combination of claim 4, said toothed edge portions of said jaws being so shaped and positionally related to each other when they are in'gripping engagement with said pit that the torque applied to said pit while said carrier members are being rotated to twist the drupe halves free from the pit causes said toothed edge portions of the jaws to increase the gripping force applied to said pit.

6. The combination of claim 4, wherein said means for rotating the carrier members to twist the drupe halves free from the pit comprises means for first rotating one of said carrier members and means for thereafter rotating the other carrier member.

7. The combination of claim 4, including means operable after the drupe halves have been twisted free from the pit to move said shafts endwise away from each other to free the drupe halves from said carrier members.

8. The combination of claim 7, including means operable after said shafts have been moved endwise away from each other to rotate said jaws apart and out from between said carrier members.

9. The combination of claim 8, including means operable after said shafts have been moved endwise away from each other to rotate said shafts in said one direction and thereby swing said finger elements away from their drupeengageable positions.

10. For a drupe halver and pitter, means for engaging the surface of a drupe, said means being in the form of an elongated finger adapted to be mounted for pivotal movement about a single axis so as to have a free end remote from said axis swingable toward and away from the surface of a drupe to be engaged thereby, said finger having a drupe-engaging surface, said surface being convexly arcuate lengthwise of said finger and having a crosswise contour adapted to impart to a drupe a force having a horizontal component when said single axis is horizontally disposed and when said finger is pivotally moved about said axis to press said surface against said drupe.

11. In a drupe halver and pitter, a pair of fruit carrier members comprising oppositely disposed plate members, means including a pair of rotatably mounted and slidably supported shafts for moving said plate members toward and away from each other and for rotating said plate members about their centers, a plurality of alike elongated finger elements, each pivotally mounted about a single axis, in angularly spaced arrangement on each of the interjacent faces of said plate members so as to have free ends remote from their pivotal axes swingable toward the centers of said plate members to mutually engage a fruit disposed between said plate members when said members have been moved toward each other, said finger elements having fruit engaging surface portions which are convexly arcuate in the direction of elongation of said finger elements and angularly inclined in the general direction of the peripheries of said plate members, the pivotal axes of said fingers being mutually parallel to each other and to the longitudinal axes of said shafts, said fruit engaging surface portions being further characterized in contour such that an imaginary straight line extending from the pivotal axis of each finger to the point of engagement of said surface portion thereof with a fruit will be located substantially in the same plane regardless of the size of said fruit, said plane being disposed normal to the path of swinging movement of said fingers, means responsive to rotative movement in one direction of a shaft to swing the finger elements associated with the plate member for said shaft toward the center of said plate member, and means responsive to rotative movement in the other direction of said shaft to swing the finger elements associated with the plate member for said shaft away from the center of said plate member.

12. In a drupe halver and pitter, a pair of fruit carrier members comprising oppositely disposed plate members, means including a pair of rotatably mounted and slidably supported shafts for moving said plate members toward and away from each other and for rotating said plate members about their centers, a plurality of alike elongated finger elements, each pivotally mounted about a singel axis, in angularly spaced arrangement on each of the interjacent faces of said plate members so as to have free ends remote from their pivotal axes swingable toward the centers of said plate members to mutually engage a fruit disposed between said plate members when said members have been moved toward each other, said finger elements having fruit engaging surface portions which are convexly arcuate in the direction of elongation of said finger elements and angularly inclined in the general direction of the peripheries of said plate members, the pivotal axes of said fingers being mutually parallel to each other and to the longitudinal axes of said shafts, said fruit engaging surface portions being further characterized in contour such that an imaginary straight line extending from the pivotal axis of each finger to the point of engagement of said surface portion thereof with a fruit will be located substantially in the same plane regardless of the size of said fr-uit, said plane being disposed normal to the path of swinging movement of said fingers.

13. In a drupe halver and pitter, a support frame, a center shaft carried by said frame for rotation, parallel and spaced apart radial arms extending from said shaft and rotatably carried thereby, a pair of axially aligned shafts rotatably and slidably supported by said arms, a fruit carrierelement mounted on the interjacent end of each of said aligned shafts for rotation therewith, means to rotate said center shaft and thereby rotate said radial arms through a 360 path to thereby move said fruit carrier elements in traversing relation to drupe receiving, drupe gripping, drupe flesh slicing and pit gripping, first and second drupe half rotating, and drupe halve and pit release stations, means to move said aligned shafts toward each other to cause said carrier elements to engage and pick up a .drupe at said receiving station, means for rotating said aligned shafts in one common direction, means movably carried by the interjacent faces of said carrier elements responsive to rotative movement of said aligned shafts in said one common direction to firmly grip said drupe at said gripping station, double jaw knife means carried by said arms, means responsive to the rotative movement of said arms to actuate said knife means by moving the jaws thereof toward a closed position and elfecting flesh slicing and pit gripping of said drupe at said slicing and pit gripping station, means responsive to further rotative movement of said arms to sequentially rotate said aligned shafts in said one common direction and thereby sequentially wrench free the drupe halves from said pit at said first and second drupe half rotating stations, and means responsive to further rotation of said arms to move said aligned shafts away from each other, deactivate the fruit gripping means carried by said fruit carrier elements, and separate the jaws of said knife means at said drupe halve and pit release stations.

14. Drupe halving and pitting apparatus comprising a support frame, a center shaft carried by said frame for rotation, parallel and spaced apart radial arms extending from said shaft and rotatably carried thereby, a pair of axially aligned shafts mounted in said arms for movement toward and away from each other, said aligned shafts being parallel to said center shaft, a fruit carrier element mounted on the interjacent end of each of said aligned shafts, means for rotating said center shaft in a clockwise direction to rotatably swing said carrier elements through a drupe receiving station, means operable to move said aligned shafts and said carrier elements toward each other to cause said carrier elements to engage a drupe and hold said drupe between them at said receiving station, conveyor means for moving a drupe to a pick-up station located in spaced but aligned relation with said receiving station and at a distance from said center shaft greater than the distance from said center shaft of said carrier elements, and transfer means for picking up adrupe located at said pick-up station and moving the same to said receiving station, said transfer means comprising a shaft and means rotatably mounting the same in parallel relation with said center shaft, means for rotating said shaft in a counterclockwise direction, an arm carried by said shaft for bodily rotation therewith, said arm terminating in hook-shaped drupe impaling means adapted to swing through said pick-up and receiving stations to impale a drupe at the former and deliver it to the latter station, and mounting and control means interconnecting said arm and shaft of said transfer means adapted to impart a clockwise component of rotational movement to said arm at said receiving station while said arm continues to be bodily rotated in a counterclockwise direction to move said hook-shaped impaling means out of said drupe, when 16 said carrier elements have engaged said drupe at said receiving station, in a direction relative to the drupe, op-

posite to the direction in which said impaling means entered said drupe at said pick-up station.

15. The combination according to claim 4 wherein the pivotal axes of said finger elements are so positioned relative to the drupe engaging surfaces thereof that the torque applied to the carrier members while said members are being rotated and the drupe pit is immobilized functions to increase the pressure with which said surfaces engage the drupe.

16. A device according to claim 10 wherein the single axis about which said finger is adapted to be mounted is so positioned that turning of a drupe engaged by the drupe engaging surface of said finger in one direction about an 3 axis parallel to said single axis will increase the pressure with which said surface engages said drupe.

17. A method for halving and pitting drupes comprising delivering a drupe to a drupe receiving station with its suture disposed in a given plane, engaging oppositely disposed surface portions of said drupe along an axis of engagement which is substantially normal to said given plane to support said drupe, arcuately swinging said drupe from said drupe receiving station to a drupe gripping station, spinning said drupe at said gripping station about an axis of rotation which is substantially normal to said given plane While continuing to arcuately swing said drupe from said gripping station to a drupe flesh slicing and pit gripping station, continuing to so spin and to so arcuately swing said drupe while slicing the flesh thereof at said latter station, continuing to so arcuately swing said drupe while gripping the pit thereof at opposite sides substantially in said given plane at said latter station, spinning the drupe flesh half portions about said axis of rotation while continuing to so grip said pit and to so arcuately swing said drupe until disconnection is effected between said half portions and said pit, and releasing said half portions and said pit while the same are being arcuately so swung.

18. In a drupe halver and pitter, a pair of opposed members having central portions, means mounting said members for rotation about a common axis, means mounting said members for movement away from and toward each other to, respectively, enable a drupe to be disposed between the central portions of said members and cause said central portions of said members to mutually engage and support said drupe, a plurality of finger elements pivotally mounted on each of said members outward-ly of the central portions thereof,'the finger elements of each member having angularly spaced apart pivotal axes which are parallel to said common axis, said finger elements having free ends which are remote from their pivotal axes and which are swingable toward and away from said central portions of said members to, respectively, engage and be disengaged from a drupe engaged and supported by said central portions, each of said finger elements on each of said members having a drupe-engageable surface which is convexly arcuate lengthwise thereof and which has a crosswise contour adapted to urge an engaged drupe toward the other member, means for swinging said finger elements into drupe engaging position, and means for swinging said finger elements out of drupe engaging position.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,952,286 9/1960 Harrer et al. 146-28 3,003,529 10/1961 Creed 146-28 3,016,935 1/1962 Newburn 146-28 3,045,732 7/1962 Vadas 14628 WILLIAM W. DYER, JR., Primary Examiner. WILLIE G. ABERCROMBIE, Examiner.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2952286 *Sep 3, 1957Sep 13, 1960Atlas Pacifik Eng CoPeach half gripper for peach pitting head
US3003529 *Sep 15, 1958Oct 10, 1961Fmc CorpPeach half twisting head for pitting machines
US3016935 *May 18, 1959Jan 16, 1962Fmc CorpPeach pitter twisting head
US3045732 *May 6, 1959Jul 24, 1962Fmc CorpPeach pitter gripping device
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4158993 *Nov 17, 1977Jun 26, 1979Filper CorporationSelective peach pitter
US4206697 *Jul 5, 1978Jun 10, 1980California Processing MachineryMethod and apparatus for selective pitting of fruits of the drupe type
US4213382 *Feb 22, 1978Jul 22, 1980California Processing MachinerySelective pitter for fruits of the drupe type
US4262025 *Dec 20, 1979Apr 14, 1981California Processing MachineryMethod for selective pitting of fruits of the drupe type
US4265169 *Jul 2, 1979May 5, 1981Silvestrini J AMethod and apparatus for producing pitted olives
US4288461 *Jan 11, 1980Sep 8, 1981California Processing MachineryDetecting whether pit is split, spoon-coring; or removing whole seeds using torque
Classifications
U.S. Classification99/491, 99/555, 99/551
International ClassificationA23N4/00, A23N4/04
Cooperative ClassificationA23N4/04
European ClassificationA23N4/04