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Publication numberUS3734004 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMay 22, 1973
Filing dateOct 19, 1970
Priority dateOct 19, 1970
Publication numberUS 3734004 A, US 3734004A, US-A-3734004, US3734004 A, US3734004A
InventorsLosito A
Original AssigneeLosito Mushroom Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Automatic mushroom trimming machine
US 3734004 A
Abstract  available in
Images(5)
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

1451 May 22,1973

{54] AUTOMATIQ MUSHROOM TRIMMING 2,858,865 11/1958 Fleming ..146/78 R MACHHQE 2,617,461 11/1952 Bach ..146/81 R 2,638,949 5/1953 Blevins ..146/78 R [75 1 lnvemor- Anthony Losm) West Grove 2,978,003 4/1961 Benekam ..146/81 R [73] Assignee: Losito Mushroom Corporation, 3,463,212 8/1969 Morgan ..146/81 R Toughkenamon, p 3,537,495 11/1970 Pearson ..146/81 R 3,596,693 8/1971 Baker ..146/78 R Flledl 1970 3,630,247 12 1971 Cox ..146 81 R 21 A L 1 2 3,630,248 12/1971 Hanson... ..146/78 R 1 pp No 8 ,65 3,636,999 1/1972 Cordes ..146/81 R [52] US. Cl. ..146/78 R, 146/81 R Primary E i willi Ab rcmmbie [5 llnt. Cl A0rneyMCCaf[hy, Depaoli & [58] Field of Search ..146/78 R, 81 R, 110, 146/119, 133,155 57 ABSTRACT I 5 References Cited An automatic, in-line mushroom trimming machine is provided that includes improved means for sequential UNITED STATES PATENTS feeding of mushrooms, root removal, and bottom 3,164,182 1 1965 11 h ..146 81 R lemma which are based upon mvemem and 3J79138 441965 gg g M14481 R dling of mushrooms with foam-surfaced belts. 3,319,680 5/1967 Coleman ....146/81 R 3,382,903 5 1968 Kibler ..146/78 R 10 Claims 11 Drawmg Hold Down IOO Feed PATENIEU r2131 f. 2 m (a SHEET 1 BF 5 INVENTOR ANTHONY v. LOSITO H WiUM ATTORNEYS PATENTEB H1122 [U75 SHEET 2 OF 5 INVENTOR ANTHONY V. LOSITO ATTORNEYS PATENTEm-mz I975 SHEET 4 [1F 5 INVENTOR ANTHONY V. LOSITOv ATTORNEYS PATENTEU W22 I975 3, 734, 004

SHEET 5 OF 5 l @w. 5; ..m @m :1: 5: wwwzr NNH mom ATTORNEYS AUTOMATIC MUSHROOM TRIMMING MACHINE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention This invention relates to the trimming of mushrooms and specifically relates to improvements in a mushroom trimming machine which utilizes a mushroomenvelopable foam for contacting and moving the mushrooms.

2. Description of the Prior Art Mushrooms, as harvested, comprise a button, a stern, and a flared root. To prepare these portions of harvest mushrooms for the consumer, the root must be removed and usually the button is severed from the stem for separate canning or other processing. Mushrooms, as is well known, are soft so that cutting thereof is difficult. They must be handled quite delicately, if bruising, especially of the buttons, is to be avoided. Accurate cutting of mushrooms usually requires that each mushroom be individually held on both sides of the cutting tool during the cutting operation. To do this without brusing portions of the mushrooms, the art customarily has utilized very complex mechanisms to assure synchronous travel of the holding elements on either side of the mushroom cutting means. Also, to compensate for variations in size of the mushrooms, various means have been adopted for nudging each mushroom into its proper place in the mushroom trimming machines for each of the two cuts which are required. These nudging means also have required elaborate drive machinery to assures a gentle touch and to provide synchronous travel thereof.

In a recent invention which is described in U.S. Pat. No. 3,3l9,680, a mushroom trimming machine which utilizes a mushroom-envelopable foam for contacting and moving mushrooms is described. This machine provides a horizontally rotating disk having an upstanding double outer edge which is serrated to provide a plurality of mushroom stem holding elements. Inside this upstanding double edge, a wheel, made of a resilient material which is soft enough to envelop the mushroom, is provided. This wheel is driven by the inner outstanding edge and presses the mushroom outwards on its support so that it is held while being cut by the cutting member. Another resilient wheel may also be provided in this mushroom trimming machine to contact the outside of the outer outstanding edge at an earlier cutting zone where the root portion is removed.

This resilient foam is preferably a flexible polyurethane foam of medium density. As given therein, specifications for medium-firm polyurethane foam are a density of about 1.1 to L6 pounds/cubic foot; a tensile strength of about 12-20 p.s.i.; an elongation of about l90-260 percent; a tear strength of about 23 pounds per inch and a rebound resilience in the ball drop test of about 40-50 percent. The indentation load deflection for a 4-inch thickness of foam is as follows:

25 percent24 30 pounds 65 percent43-54 pounds 25 percent (unloading)l2-2l pounds 65/25 ratio 1.8

This mushroom trimming machine requires two oper' ators who face each other on opposite sides of the horizontally rotating disk. Each operator manually places the mushrooms in the notches of the outstanding double outer edge and otherwise tends the machine.

This mushroom trimming machine has proved quite satisfactory in its very practical advance over the prior art. However, a mushroom machine requiring two operators causes the mushroom trimming operation to be unduly expensive. Furthermore, the operators must balance their production rate; if one operator moves faster than the other, she cannot go beyond the machine s capacity if it is set for the other operator, for example. A machine having in-line production capability and speed limited only by the mechanical limitation of the equipment could significantly reduce the costs of the mushroom trimming operation. Moreover, an automatic sequential feeding operation which aligns the mushrooms, erects them, and feeds them sequentially to the mushroom trimming machine could enable an operator to watch over a plurality of machines without having to use her hands for handling the mushrooms and thereby greatly lower labor costs.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION It is therefore an object of this invention to provide a sequential feeding means utilizing a mushroomenvelopable foam for contacting and moving mushrooms to be fed to a mushroom trimming machine.

It is a further object of this invention to provide a root positioning means for root removal of mushrooms in an in-line mushroom trimming machine.

It is an additional object of this invention to provide a stem holding means which utilizes a mushroomenvelopable foam for use in a in-line mushroom trimming machine. 1

It is also an object of this invention to provide a button positioning and button holding means for mushroom button removal to be used in an in-line mushroom trimming machine.

DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION In satisfaction of these objects and in accordance with this invention, these improvements in general utilize a composite conveyor belt made of a conventional belt material to which is adhesively secured the medium-firm polyurethane foam as the outer surface thereof. The thickness of this foam is sufficient to envelop about one half of a mushroom stem so that two such foam layers on opposite composite conveyor belts can completely envelop a mushroom stem and hold it securely without damage thereto.

An in-line mushroom trimming machine is provided herein which comprises a supporting structure, a drive means, a synchronous power-transmitting means which preferably utilizes a system of interlocking bevel gears, a sequential feed means comprising an aligning means and an erecting means, a root removal means, and a button removal means. The root removal means comprises a root positioning means, a stem holding means, a root severing means, and a root collection means. The button removal means comprises the stem holding means, and a button pressing means and a button severing means which co-operate with the stem holding means, and finally stem and button collection means.

The sequential feed means is essentially designed for replacement of at least one operator. The root removal means and the button removal means are novel developments in an in-line mushroom trimming machine which utilize a mushroom-envelopable foam for contacting and moving the mushrooms which are sequentially feed thereinto.

Mushrooms vary greatly in size. Even after grading, substantial differences in length of the root portion and of the stem portion exist and are material to the operation of any mushroom trimming machine. It is not possible to obtain exact trimming of each mushroom, except by individual human judgment of each mushroom, so that a mushroom trimming machine must make an average cut. In the in-line mushroom trimming machine of this invention, the mushrooms are preferably disposed vertically.

When a mushroom is held upright by the stem holding means, its weight rests upon the root positioning means which further pushes upwardly upon the root and forces the stem to slide upwardly against the frictional resistance of the stem holding means so that the effects of minute and inconsequential root projections are minimized, and a relatively uniform root portion is separated from the remaining stern and button portions by operation of the root severing means.

Although both cuts operate upon the stem portion of a mushroom, for clarity herein the first cut, which is close to the root and separates the root portion from the stem portion, is termed the root cut, and the second cut, which is close to the underside of the button, is termed the button cut.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The improvements developed in accordance with these objectives and embodied in the improved automatic mushroom trimming machine of this invention may be more clearly understood by reference to the accompanying drawings, which are described as follows:

FIG. 1 is a diagrammatic representation of the root removal means and the button removal means of this invention, shown in side elevation.

FIG. 2 is a diagrammatic representation of the sequential feed means, shown in side elevation.

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional elevation through the erecting means of FIG. 1 and looking in the direction of mushroom flow and in the direction of the arrows crossing the line 33 in FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional elevation across the root positioning means and looking in the direction of the arrows crossing the line 4-4 in FIG. 1.

FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional elevation, also looking in the direction of mushroom flow, across the location of the button severing means and in the direction of the arrows crossing the line 5-5 in FIG. 1.

FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional elevation across the mushroom aligning means in the sequential feed means, looking in the direction of the mushroom source and in the direction of the arrows crossing the line 6-6 in FIG. 2.

FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional elevation across the root erecting means, similarly to FIG. 3, looking in the direction of the arrows crossing the line 7-7 in FIG. 2.

FIG. 8 is a plan view of the improved mushroom trimming machine of this invention in which the sequential feed means is broken off.

FIG. 9 is a cross-sectional elevation, looking in the direction of the arrows crossing the line 5 -9 in FIG. 8 and from the same point of view as in FIGS. 1 and 2.

FIG. 10 is a cross-sectional elevation, looking in the direction of mushroom flow and in the direction of the arrows crossing the line 1010 in FIG. 9, across the button positioning means, the button holding means, and the button severing means.

FIG. 11 is a cross-sectional plan view, looking in the direction of the arrows crossing the line 11-1 1 in FIG. 9 and downwardly over the entire length of the in-line mushroom trimming machine of FIG. 8 just above the stem holding means.

As shown in FIG. 3, a mushroom 20 has three useful portions: a root 21, a stem 22, and a button 23, each of which portions has a different commercial value and utility.

As shown in FIG. 2, the sequential feeding means of this invention comprises an aligning means 30, which may be in a plurality of stages, and an erecting means 40. The aligning means 30 preferably comprises a plurality of stages which are serially aligned and downwardly inclined in a stepwise manner as shown in FIG. 2. An elongated hopper 16, having a back wall 17 and downwardly converging side walls 37, 37' whose lower edges 38, 38', as shown in FIG. 6, define a slot therebetween, surrounds the plurality of stages on three sides. Composite drag belts 31, 33, and 35 form the successive stages, being driven by paired rolls 32, 34, and 36, respectively. Jumbled feed mushrooms 24 move down wardly on drag belt 31, fall as aligned mushrooms 25 on drag belt 33, and fall again as aligned and spaced mushrooms 25a on drag belt 35 which is preferably operating at a higher speed than drag belt 33, which is also preferably operating at a higher speed than drag belt 31.

Each of the drag belts 31, 33 and 35 is a conventional belt to which is adhesively secured a resilient foam material as an outer layer thereof, as is shown in FIG. 6, where the belt 33 is surfaced with the foam 39. This foam 39 is preferably medium-density polyurethane foam as described hereinbefore. The edge of the mushroom root 21 catches in the surface of the resilient foam material and is somewhat enveloped thereby so that the mushrooms 25 are dragged therealong between the downwardly converging walls 37, 37', as shown in FIGS. 2 and 6.

As illustrated in FIG. 2, mushrooms 25a arrive sequentially at erecting means 40 and drop stem-wise between a pair of smooth-surfaced support members 43, 43 which are shown in cross-section in FIGS. 3 and 7. The erecting means 40 therefore comprises the pair of smooth-surfaced support members 43, 43 which are mutually parallel and spaced apart by approximately the thickness of a mushroom stem and are so disposed in relation to the aligning means 30 that the mushroom roots 21 drop sequentially therebetween so that the undersides of the mushroom buttons rest upon the support members 43, 43. The erecting means 40 further comprises an overhead conveyor push belt 41 which has an outer layer 44 which consists of a mushroomenvelopable foam such as the previously defined medium-density polyurethane foam. This push belt 41 is aligned with and disposed between the support members 43, 43 at a selected distance therefrom so that the surface of its outer layer 44 is spaced apart from the plane common to the support members 43, 43' by less than the thickness of a mushroom button 23. As shown in FIG. 7, the mushroom 26 is firmly but gently held down upon the support members 43, 43' by the yielding foam material 44 and pushed therealong to enter the mushroom trimming operation.

The in-line trimming machine of this invention comprises the root positioning means 50, the stem holding means 60, the root severing means 70, and the root collection means 80 as the component parts of the root removal means which are shown diagrammatically in elevation at the right-hand side of FIG. 1. The machine further comprises the button positioning means 90, the button moving means 100, the button severing means I 10, the stem collection means 120, and the button collection means 130 as the component parts of the button removal means, as shown at the left-hand side of FIG. 1. These component parts of the root removal means and the button removal means are attached to a synchronous power-transmitting means 170 and to a supporting structure 150. The power-transmitting means 170 is connected to a drive means 210.

Referring to FIGS. 1, 2, and 4, the root removal means in the in-line trimming machine of this invention comprises the stem holding means 60 which comprises a pair of opposed foam-surfaced stem belts 61, 61' made of conventional belt material, each belt having a button side, such as 61b, a root side such as 61s, and an outer layer 62, 62' of a mushroom-envelopable foam which is adhesively attached to the outer surface of each stem belt 61, 61. The outer layers 62, 62 are spaced apart by less than the thickness of the mushroom stem 22 of a mushroom 27 being fed sequentially therebetween, so that the compressed foam material on either side of a stem 22 of a typical mushroom 27 passing therebetween, in combination with uncompressed foam material 63, 63', thus surrounds the entire stem, as shown in FIG. 4. Nevertheless, a stem 22 held between the stem-enveloping foam 62, 62' should be slidably moveable to a limited extent so that the root positioning means 50 can press upon the root 21 of a mushroom 27a held between the pair of belts 61, 61 and longitudinally adjust the mushroom 27a to its optimum cutting position.

The root positioning means 50 comprises a root elevation belt 51 made of conventional belt material, which preferably has a mushroom-envelopable foam material 52 adhesively secured thereto, a drive roller 55, an idler roller 53, and a positioning roller 54 along which the single belt 51 moves so that its upper layer 52 is moving in the same direction and at the same speed over positioning roller 54 as the stem belts 61, 61 move thereabove. As shown in FIG. 11, the sheave 55 is rigidly attached to the shaft 199 which is attached to the gear 198 in train with the gear 197 which is rigidly attached to the shaft 196 which is in turn rigidly attached to the bevel gear 195. As shown in FIG. 9, the bevel gear 195 and the bevel gear 192 are rotatably connected and mutually disposed at right angles. The bevel gear 192 is rigidly attached to the vertical shaft 191 which is attached at its upper end to the sheave 193 over which the power-transmission belt 194 moves.

The root severing means 70 is shown diagrammatically in FIGS. 1 and 4 and in detail in FIGS. 8 and 9. The rotating knife 71 is interposed between the root sides 61s, 61s of the stem belts 61, 61 and the top surface of the foam layer 52 on the belt 51. The distance therebetween is preferably adjusted to cut a selected length of the root 21 along the line 25, as shown in FIG. 3, where the knife edge 72, which shows clearly in FIG. 4, intersects the stem slot 15 between the foam layers 62, 62. The knife wheel 71 is rigidly attached to vertical drive shaft 191 at the top thereof.

The root collection means 80 comprises a root chute 81, having sides 82, which is rigidly attached to the bottom plate 141 of the supporting structure 150. Its upper end 83 is adjacent to the power-transmission belt 194, as shown in FIG. 11, and is beneath the intersection of knife edge 72 with the slot 15 between foam layers 62, 62' of belts 61, 61', so that the roots 21 which are severed thereby drop downwardly, as shown diagrammatically in FIG. 1, and are intercepted by the upper part of root chute 81.

Pressure-maintaining rollers 18, 18', which are adjustably supported by arms 19, 19', maintain a selected pressure upon belts 61, 61 immediately adjacent to the cutting station formed by the intersection of knife edge 72 and the slot between outer surfaces of foam layers 62, 62' above the upper part of root chute 81 and approximately above the drive roller 55.

After leaving the root cutting station, as shown diagrammatically in FIG. 1, the mushrooms proceed toward the button cutting station. Button 23 of the mushroom 28 is already elevated above the button sides 61b, 61b of stem belt 61, 61' and is soon intercepted by the ramp portion of the mutually parallel button slides 91, 91', which are downwardly inclined, of the button positioning means 90. Pick-up ends 93, 93' of the button slides 91, 91 substantially adjoin the button sides 61b, 61b of the stem belts 61, 61'. The length of the button slides 91, 91' may curve gradually upward in the direction of mushroom movement as shown in FIG. 9, or may be divided into two portions, an inclined ramp and a level ramp, as shown in FIG. 1.

As shown in FIG. 5, the button positioning means comprises side barriers 92, 92 which are attached to the horizontal parts of the button slides 91, 91. Side barriers 92, 92' are not essential to the successful operation of position means 90, however.

The other ends of button slides 91, 91' are drop ends 94, 94', as shown in FIGS. 8 and 9. These button slides 91, 91' are rigidly attached to the supporting structure 150 and are preferably attached to longitudinal bracket 155. The button slides 91, 91 are spaced sufficiently above stem belts 61, 61' as to enable the mushrooms 28 to be slid stemwise between the mushroomenveloping foam layers 62, 62' in order to provide a stretching action upon the stem 22 of the mushroom 28 and a compression of the undersides of its button 23. This distance, however, must not be so great as to cause the stem 22 to slip past the foam layer 62, 62' at its lower severed end 25.

The button removal means, in addition to the stem holding means 60 and the button positioning means 90, also comprises the button moving means which itself comprises a button belt 101 having a foam layer 102 attached to the outer surface thereof as shown in FIG. 5. The button belt 101 is driven by the drive sheave 103 and also moves over the idler sheave 104, as shown in FIGS. 8 and 9. The outer surface of foam layer 102, while running synchronously with the stem belts 61, 61, is disposed above the ramp portion of the button slides 91, 91, and aligned longitudinally with the button slot therebetween, at a lesser distance than the thickness of a mushroom button 23.

The button removal means of this invention further comprises the stern severing means which severs the stems of the sequentially fed mushrooms 29 immediately beneath the button slides 91, 91 whereby the stems 22 and buttons 23 are separated approximately at the cutting line 26, as indicated in FIG. 3. This stem severing means 110 comprises a rotatable knife wheel 1 11, having a cutting edge 112, although other cutting means such as inclined knives or other devices known to the prior art may be used instead thereof. Knife 111 is rigidly attached to vertical shaft 207 which is attached by means of a bearing to the horizontal part of 5 bracket 155 and is also attached, by a bearing at its lower end, to ledge 161, as shown in FIG. 9.

Also bearingly attached to ledge 161 are meshing gears 201 and 202 which are respectively attached to vertical shafts 206 and 207. Cutting edge 112 of the rotating knife wheel 111 intersects the stem slot between foam layers 62, 62' twice. Beneath the first intersection encountered by the stem of a mushroom 29 is a collection means 120 comprising the stem chute 121, as shown in FIG. 9. Separated stems 22 are deposited therein.

The buttons 23 which are separated from mushroom 29 remain upon the button slides 92, 92' until they arrive at the drop ends 94, 94', being enveloped and urged therealong by the foam layer 102 of the button belt 101. The buttons 23 drop off in sequence onto a button chute 131, which is part of the button collection means 130, as shown in FIG. 9.

The power-transmitting means 170 comprises a power shaft 181 which is connected by v-belts 211 and sheave 182 to a drive means, such as an electric motor, which is not shown in the drawings. As shown in FIGS. 8, 9, 10, and 11, counter-rotation is imparted by meshing gears 183 and 213. Shaft 214 is attached to gear 213 and to bevel gear 215, and bevel gear 211 is attached to shaft 181. A variable speed motor is preferred.

The bevel gears 216 and 212 respectively mesh with the bevel gears 215 and 211 and counter-rotate the attached shafts 208 and 206, respectively, to which the stem drive sheaves 66 and 66' are respectively attached.

The automatic mushroom trimming machine of this invention may be operated without a sequential feed means if automatic operation is not desired by having one or more operators manually insert mushrooms, buttons upward, into the slot entrance 14 whereby the stems are engaged and enveloped within the stem slot 15.

This invention simplifies the handling and movement of mushrooms, without touching thereof by human hands, in the mushroom trimming operation by combining in-line movement concepts with the foamenveloping concept applied to endless belts as the outer layer thereof and achieves precise cutting control by utilizing root compression, button underside compression, and stem stretching means. Because the mechanisms of this invention can be modified in many ways, its basic concepts are intended to be defined and protected by the accompanying claims.

I claim:

1. In a mushroom trimming machine for separating mushrooms into component buttons, stems and roots, which has a root cutting station and a button cutting station, an improved sequential feed means, comprismg:

A. an aligning means which comprises:

1. an elongated hopper, having downwardly converging walls whose nearer edges define a slot therebetween toward which said roots are disposed when said mushrooms are fed into said hopper, and

2. a composite drag belt, having a foam surface, which is so disposed within said slot that said foam surface faces upwardly and moves toward said root cutting station, whereby said foam surface engages said roots and drags said mushrooms between said downwardly converging walls,

B. an erecting means, disposed in series with said aligning means to receive uprightly disposed mushrooms fed sequentially therefrom, which comprises:

l. a pair of smoothsurfaced support members which are mutually parallel and spaced apart by approximately the thickness of a mushroom stem and which are so disposed in relation to said aligning means that said mushroom stems are dropped sequentially therebetween by said drag belt, whereby the undersides of the mushroom buttons rest upon said support members, and

2. an overhead conveyor push belt, having an outer layer consisting of a mushroom-envelopable foam, which is disposed between and in parallel with said support members and whose outer surface is spaced apart from the plane common to said support members by less than the thickness of a mushroom button so that outer layer holds down said mushroom buttons against said support members and pushes said mushrooms therealong.

2. The improved sequential feed means of claim 1 in which said aligning means is downwardly inclined.

3. The improved sequential feed means of claim 1 in which said erecting means is downwardly inclined.

4. The improved sequential feed means of claim 2 in which a plurality of said push belts are disposed in series within said elongated hopper.

5. In an in-line mushroom trimming machine which utilizes a mushroom-envelopable foam for contacting and moving mushrooms which are sequentially fed thereto, said mushrooms having unsevered portions consisting of buttons, stems, and roots, the improvement in the root removal means, comprising, in combination:

A. a stem holding means which comprises a pair of opposed composite stem belts which are mutually parallel, each belt having a button side, a root side, and an outer layer consisting of a mushroomenvelopable foam, the outer surfaces of said outer laYers being spaced apart by less than the thickness of the mushroom stems fed sequentially therebetween while said stem belts are synchronously moving at a selected speed, whereby said button side is in supporting relationship to the undersides of said buttons, said stems being stemwise movable within said stem-enveloping outer layers,

B. a root positioning means which comprises a foamsurfaced root elevation belt, which:

l. is disposed between and longitudinally in parallel with said stem belts and whose outer surface faces toward said stern belts at a lesser distance from said button side than the distance from said button undersides to the roots of said sequentially fed mushrooms while moving in the same direction and at the same transitional speed as said synchronously moving stem belts,

2. is in inclined relationship to said stern belts so that said buttons of said sequentially fed mushrooms are gradually moved perpendicularly away A. a sequential feed means that sequentially feeds from said button surface by pressure upon said mushrooms in upright position and spaced relationroots after initial contact therewith by said outer p, P g surface, and 1. an aligning means which comprises:

3. has an initial inclined portion and a secondary an elongated pp having converging Walls parallel portion in relation to said stem belts, Whose nearer edges define a slot therebetween, C. a root severing means, comprising a rotatable and knife wheel, which is disposed between said root a foamsurfaced drag belt which is so disposed side and said parallel portion at a distance from within Said slot that Said foam Surface faces said outer surface equal to the length of said mush- Said converging walls and moves toward Said room roots and cutting station, whereby said foam surface en- D a root collection means. gages said roots drags said mushrooms be- 6. In an in-line mushroom trimming machine which f converglflg wallsi utilizes a mushroom-envelopable foam for contacting efecnng means P m Senes wlth Sald and moving mushrooms being fed sequentially thereto, ahgmilg means to recelye mushrqows fed an improved button removal means, comprising, in quemlaily therefrom whlch compnses combination: a. a pair of smooth-surfaced support members A. a stem holding means, comprising a pair of stem g t 35252121 1 g g i zsg s 3:33;: belts, each stem belt being surfaced with a layer of i s whichyare so disposed in relation to a mushroom-envelopable foam and having a button Said aligning means that Said mushroom Stems side and a root side, which travel at a constant seare dropped sequentially therebetween by Said lected speed and in closely opposed relationship, drag be, whereby the undersides of the mush whereby the uprightly disposed stems of said seroom buttons rest upon Said Support members, quentially fed mushrooms are grasped therebeand tween b. a foam-surfaced push belt, having an outer a button Positioning means, Comprising a P of layer consisting of a mushroom-envelopable mutually parallel button slides, each button slide foam hi h i di d between d i 1- a g lel with said support members and whose outer l. a pick-up end, each pick-up end being substansurface is spaced apart from the plane common tially in contact with the button side of one of said stem belts, and

to said support members by less than the thickness of a mushroom button;

2. a drop end, and B. a support structure; said pair of button slides having: C. a root removal means, comprising:

1 h h f 1. a ramp portion adjaCent to said pick-up ends and a em 0 mg means w 10 comprises a pair 0 2. a cutting portion adjacent to said drop ends, both portions being above said pair of stem belts and each button slide being vertically aligned with one of said stem belts, said ramp portion opposed stem belts which are mutually parallel, each belt being rotatably attached to said support structure and having a button side, a root side, and an outer layer consisting of a mushroom- 4 being upwardly inclined relative to Said stem 0 envelopable foam, said outer layers being spaced belts and said cutting portion being substantially apart by less than h thlckness of the mushroom parallel thereto, whereby a stem slot is defined stems, fed sequentially therebetween by Sald between said button slides, erecting means, while said stem belts are syn- C. a button moving means, comprising a button belt chfonously K 3 a selectfad Speed; WheFeby which said button side 1s in supporting relationship to L surfaced with a layer of a mushroom the undersides of said buttons, said stems being envelopable foam longitudinally movable within said stem- 2. disposed above said stem slot, envelopmg. 9 Surfaces 2. a root positioning means which comprlses a root 3. aligned longitudinally therewith, 4 spaced above Said button Slides y less than the elevation belt WhlCh is rotatably attached to said i su ortin structure havin thickness of a mushroom bottom, and pp 5 tra e ng sy c o u y with Said Stem belts a. an lmtla me me portion in relatlon to said stem belts,

while Said foam layer is nearest thereto b. a secondary parallel portion in relation to said D. a stem severing means which severs the stems of stem belts and Said sequentially mushrooms immediately c. a root surface of mushroom-envelopable foam, E tt f i i g whereby the t g and the said root elevation belt being disposed between u 0 mus rooms are Separa 6 Y and longitudinally in parallel with said stem E. a stem collection means into WhlCl'l said separated 6O belts with Said root Surface facing toward Said Stems are deposlted y Said Stem l and stem belts at a lesser selected distance from F a button collection means, near to said drop ends, Said button Side than the distance f i into which said separated buttons are deposited. button d id to the roots f id Seclueh- 7. The improvement of claim 6 in which said severing i ll f d mushrooms hil moving i h same means is a rotatable knife wheel. direction and at the same transitional speed as 8. An in-line mushroom trimming machine for separating mushrooms into component buttons, stems, and roots, comprising:

said synchronously moving stem belts,

3. a root severing means comprising a rotatable knife wheel which is rotatably attached to said attached to said supporting structure and provides synchronous movement to said stem belts, said root elevation belt, and said button belt, and F. a power means which is attached to said supporting structure and is connected to said synchronous power-transmitting means. 7 9. In the in-line mushroom trimming machine of 1. said stem holding means, claim 5, an improved button removal means for said se- 2. a button positioning means, comprising a pair of quentially fed mushrooms having said roots removed mutually parallel button slides, each slide being therefrom, comprising, in combination: rigidly attached to said supporting structure and A. said stem belts which continue to travel synchrosupporting structure and is connected to said synchronous power-transmitting means, and 4. a root collection means, which is attached to said supporting structure and so disposed in relation to said severing means that said roots fall thereinto; D. a button removal means, comprising:

having: a. a pick-up end, each pickup end being substantially in contact with the button side of one of nously and linearly from said root severing means while said stems remain stemwise movable within said stem-enveloping outer layers;

said stem belts, and 15 B. a button positioning means, comprising a pair of b. a drop end mutually parallel button slides, each button slide said pair of button slides having: having:

1. a ramp portion adjacent to said pick-up ends 1. a pick-up end, each pick-up end being substanand tially in contact with the button side of one of 2. a cutting portion adjacent to said drop ends, said stem belts, and

both portions being above said pair of stem 2. a drop end, and belts and each button slide being vertically said pair of button slides having: aligned with one of said stem belts, said ramp 1. a ramp portion adjacent to said pick-up ends and portion being upwardly inclined relative to 2. a cutting portion adjacent to said drop ends, said stern belts and said cutting portion being both portions being above said pair of stem belts substantially parallel thereto, wherebyastem and each button slide being vertically aligned slot is defined between said button slides, with one of said stem belts, said ramp portion 3. a button moving means, comprising a button being upwardly inclined relative to said stem belt, rotatably attached to said supporting strucbelts and said cutting portion being substantially ture which is: parallel thereto, whereby a stem slot is defined a. surfaced with a layer of a mushroombetween said button slides;

envelopable foam, C. a button moving means, comprising a button belt b. disposed above said stem slot, which is: c. aligned longitudinally therewith, l. surfaced with a layer of a mushroomd. spaced above said button slides by less than envelopable foam,

the thickness of a mushroom button, and 2. disposed above said stem slot, e. traveling synchronously with said stem belts 3. aligned longitudinally therewith,

while said foam layer is nearest thereto, 4. spaced above said button slides by less than the 4. a button severing means which severs the stems thickness of a mushroom bottom, and

of said sequentially fed mushrooms immediately 5. traveling synchronously with said stem belts beneath said button slides, whereby the stems while said foam layer is nearest thereto; and the buttons of said mushrooms are sepa- D. a stem severing means which severs the stem of rated, comprising a rotatable knife wheel which said sequentially fed mushrooms immediately beis rotatably attached to said supporting structure neath said button slides, whereby the stems and the and is connected to said synchronous powerbuttons of said mushrooms are separated;

E. a stem collection means into which said separated stems are deposited by said stem belts; and F. a button collection means, near to said drop ends, into which said separated buttons are deposited. 10. The improvement in the root removal means in the in-line mushroom trimming machine of claim 5 said supporting structure near to said drop ends, wherein said mushroom-envelopable foam is a polyureinto which said separated buttons are deposited, thane foam. E. a synchronous power-transmitting means which is transmitting means,

5. a stem collection means, which is attached to said supporting structure and into which said separated stems are deposited by said stem belts, and 50 6. a button collection means, which is attached to

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
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Classifications
U.S. Classification99/637
International ClassificationA23N15/00, A23N15/04
Cooperative ClassificationA23N15/045
European ClassificationA23N15/04A