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Publication numberUS3803669 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateApr 16, 1974
Filing dateSep 2, 1971
Priority dateSep 2, 1971
Publication numberUS 3803669 A, US 3803669A, US-A-3803669, US3803669 A, US3803669A
InventorsDillon J
Original AssigneeFood Equipment Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
System for automatically washing the interior of fowl carcasses
US 3803669 A
Abstract
The specification discloses a system for automatically washing the interiors of fowl carried by an overhead conveyor. The system includes a frame defining a curved, closed path which is disposed adjacent one side of the overhead conveyor. A plurality of downwardly disposed probes are mounted on the frame about the closed path, each of the probes including a lower extention member having spray apertures defined therein. Structure is provided to move the probes about the closed path so as to be disposed over the fowl moving along the conveyor. Pressurized fluid is supplied to each of the probes. Valves are mounted in each of the probes and are selectively operated to supply fluid to move the extension members downwardly within the interior of the fowl. Fluid is then sprayed from the apertures within the interiors of the fowl. In large fowl such as turkeys, the extension member also serves to rupture the membrane above the lung area of the fowl.
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United States Patent [191 Dillon Apr. 16, 1974 SYSTEM FOR AUTOMATICALLY WASHING THE INTERIOR OF FOWL CARCASSES Janus ,1. Dillon, Irving, Tex.

[52] US. Cl. 17/11 [51] Int. Cl A22b 3/08 [58] Field of Search 17/11, 11.2, 51, l R, 24; 239/DIG. l, 104, 115; 134/152, 172, 57 R, 82, 167 R [56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,795,817 6/1957 Dahlberg l7/5l 3,670,365 6/1972 Dillon 17/52 X 2,423,299 7/1947 Davis 17/51 X 2,427,840 9/1947 Davis.... 17/11 743,155 11/1903 Eick 134/167 R 1,940,615 12/1933 Webster 134/167 R Primary Examiner-Louis G Mancene Assistant ExaminerD. L. Weinhold Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Richards, Harris & Medlock [57] ABSTRACT The specification discloses a system for automatically washing the interiors of fowl carried by an overhead conveyor. The system includes a frame defining a curved, closed path which is disposed adjacent one side of the overhead conveyor. A plurality of downwardly disposed probes are mounted on the frame about the closed path, each of the probes including a lower extention member having spray apertures defined therein. Structure is provided to move the probes about the closed path so as to be disposed over the fowl moving along the conveyor. Pressurized fluid is supplied to each of the probes. Valves are mounted in each of the probes and are selectively operated to supply fluid to move the extension members downwardly within the interior of the fowl. Fluid is then sprayed from-the apertures within the interiors of the fowl. In large fowl such as turkeys, the extension member also serves to rupture the membrane above the lung area of the fowl.

13 Claims, 7 Drawing Figures ?ATENTEUAPR 16 L974 3 803 669 SHEET 2 [IF 2 52' 52 5o 50%? so 62 I Y i0 60 w 62 7 a 42 I 56 INVENTOR'. JANUS J. DILLON ATTORNEYS SYSTEM FOR AUTOMATICALLY WASHING THE INTERIOR OF FOWL CARCASSES FIELD OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to fowl processing, and more particularly relates to automatic systems for washing the interior of fowl transported along an overhead conveyor.

I THE PRIOR ART In the processing of fowl, it is important to wash the interior of the fowl after the fowl has been killed, scalded, defeathered and eviscerated. In addition, in large fowls such as turkeys and the like, a membrane above the lung area of the fowl must be ruptured to allow the interior cavity of the fowl to be drained of eviscerate, water and blood which are present inside the carcass. The conventional technique for washing the interior of fowl utilizes a human operator who physically introduces a water spraying probe downwardly into the interior cavity of the fowl. Not only is this technique subject to quality control problems due to operator inattention and inexperience, but the technique also sometimes causes excessive water loss.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In accordance with the present invention, a system is provided for automatically washing the interior of fowl carcasses carried along an overhead conveyor. The present system dispenses water only within the interior of the fowl, thereby providing a sanitary and efficient operation. In addition, the present system uniformly sprays and probes each successive fowl without the requirement of human intervention.

In accordance with the present invention, a system is provided to automatically wash the interior of a fowl which includes an elongated probe depending downwardly over a fowl carcass being transported along a conveyor path. Structure moves the probe along the path of travel of the fowl carcass and selectively moves theprobe downwardly into the interior of the carcass. Structure is provided to initiate the spraying of fluid from the probe when the probe moves within the fowl carcass.

In accordance with another aspectof the invention, a system is provided to wash fowl carried by an overhead conveyor at spaced apart intervals. A plurality of vertically depending elongated probes are separated by the spaced intervals and are mounted over the fowl. Structure is provided to move the probes in syncronism with the travel of the fowl and to selectively move ones of the probes downwardly into the interiors of the fowl. Fluid is sprayed from the probes while the probes are within the interiors of the'fowl. Structure is provided to then withdraw the probes from the interior of the fowl after the spraying operation.

In accordance with a more specific aspect of the invention, a system automatically washes the interior of fowl carried by an overhead conveyor and includes a frame defining a curved, closed path disposed adjacent one side of the overhead conveyor. A plurality of downwardly disposed probes are mounted on the frame about the closed path, each of the probes .including a lower extension member having spray apertures therein. Structure is provided to cause the probes to be moved about the closed path so as to be disposed over fowl moving along the conveyor. Structure supplies pressurized fluid to each of the probes. Valves are mounted in each probe and are selectively operated to supply fluid to downwardly extend the extension members within the interior of the fowl, the fluid then spraying from the apertures within the fowl.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 3 is a front view of a single probe in the system shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a front view of the probe shown in FIG. 3 in a downwardly extended position;

FIG. 5 is a longitudinal sectional view taken through ones of the probes of the invention while in the upward position;

FIG. 6 is a longitudinal sectional view of a probe according to the present invention in a downwardly extended position; and

FIG. 7 is a top view of a second embodiment of the invention for use with a curved overhead conveyor portion.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring to FIG. 1, the present automatic fowl interior washing system is identified generally by the numeral 10. A plurality of fowl are transported at spaced intervals by shackles l2a-e which travel along an overhead conveyor 14 in the conventional manner. Spaced apart guide bars 16 and 18 maintain the fowl in a predetermined position throughout the path of travel past the system 10. As best shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the system 10 comprises a plurality of downwardly disposed probes 20 mounted at spaced intervals about a flat chain belt 22. Belt 22 travels around a pair of spaced apart wheels 24 and 26. Wheels 24 and 26 are rotated by star wheels (not shown) meshing with the overhead conveyor chain. Rotation of the belt 22 is thus synchronized with the movement of fowl along the overhead conveyor. The upper portion of each probe 20 comprises a fluid valve 28 having an actuating lever 30. The valve 28 is of the automatic timing variety which remains open for a predetermined time interval once actuated. Flexible conduits 32 extend from each of the valves 28 to a rotary union 34 which is connected through a conduit 36 to the city water supply.

Operation of the system may be best understood by reference to FIG. 1, wherein ones of the probes 20 are disposed over the fowl carried by the shackles l2a-e and are travelling along the same path as the fowl and at the same speed. Due to rotation of the wheels 24 and 26, the belt 22 moves the probes 20 about a curved, closed path defined by the spaced apart wheels 24 and 26. At the location illustrated by shackle 12a, a probe 20 is thus directly disposed over the fowl. The fowl at this stage often includes an intact membrane M which causes 'eviscerate and other fluids to be collected therein. As the probe moves along with the shackle, the actuating lever engages an upright stationary tripping arm and is actuated thereby to supply pressurized water into the probe'20. In a manner to be subsequently described in greater detail, the probe 20 is thus downwardly extended to enter the interior cavity of the fowl, as shown at the location of shackle 1212.

As the probe 20 enters the interior cavity of the fowl, water is sprayed from apertures 42 defined in the lower portion of the probe 20. As the fowl moves along the overhead conveyor, the probe 20 continues its downward'movement until the membrane M is ruptured by the probe, as shown at the location of the shackle 12c. Rupturing of the membrane causes eviscerate and other fluid to be drained through the neck portion of the fowl. In addition, the water sprayed from the probe 20 cleans the interior of the fowl and this water also drains from the fowl.

The spraying and washing action of the probe 20 continues past the position of shackle 12a, whereinafter the valve 28 times out and terminates the supply of pressurized water to the probe. As'will be subsequently described, this causes the probe 20 to retract upwardly from the fowl, as is shown at the location of shackle 12e. After retraction from the fowl, the probe 20 continues to move around the closed circular path and the washed fowl continues to the next processing station. It will be understood that the present illustrated system may be used on either single or multiple fowl lines.

FIGS. 3 and 4 illustrate side views of both the upwardly and the downwardly extended positions of the probe 20. FIG. 3 illustrates the probe 20 positioned over a fowl carried by the shackle 12. FIG. 4 illustrates probe 20 in its downwardly extended position after the lever 30 has been actuated by the stationary tripping arm 40.

FIGS. 5 and 6 illustrate the construction of the probes 20. The probe comprises an upper portion which is connected through the valve 28 to the city water supply. The upper portion 50 includes an aperture 52 through the length thereof. The upper portion 50 terminatesin an annular lip 54 which supports an O-ring seal-56.- A lower extension portion 58 is telescoped over the upper portion when no fluid is supplied to the probe 20. The end of extension portion'58 includes a plurality of apertures 42 defined therein. The upper end of the extension portion 58 includes a cap 60 threadedly connected thereto. Cap 60 supports an O- ring seal 62. A coiled spring 64 is disposed along the exterior of the upper portion 50. The upper end of the spring 64 abuts with the cap 60 and the lower end of the spring abuts with the annular lip 54.

When no pressurized water is supplied through the aperture 5 2, the spring 64 causes the lower extension portion 58 to telescope over the upper portion 50 in the manner shown in FIG. 5. When pressurized water is applied through the aperture 52, the bias of the spring 64 is overcome due to the water. pressure and the lower extension portion 58 is moved downwardly to the position shown in FIG. 6. The water then sprays outwardly from the probe through the apertures 42 in order to wash the interior of the fowl. When the supply of water is terminated, the lower extension portion 58 again rises upwardly to the position shown in FIG. 5 due to the action of the spring 64.

FIG. 7'illustrates an embodiment of the present invention for use in the turnaround portion of an overhead conveyor 70. The system comprises a wheel 72 having a plurality of vertically disposed probes 74 at spaced apart locations around the wheel 72. Wheel 72 includes a star wheel, not shown, which meshes with the overhead conveyor chain to thereby turn wheel 72. Probes 74 are constructed in the identical manner as the probes 20 and operate in the same manner as that previously described. Valves 76 are connected to the probes and include actuating levers 78.

Valves 76 are also of the automatic self-timing type which are energized only for a predetermined time period. A rigid stationary actuating member 80 is disposed in the path of the actuating lever 78 in order to sequentially actuate ones of the probes 74 in the manner previously described. The valves 76 are connected by conduits to a rotary union 82 which is connected to a supply of city water. When the valves 76 are actuated, water is applied through the valve 76 to the probes 74, which then extend downwardly into fowl carried by the overhead conveyor and wash the interior of the fowl. In the case of larger fowl such as turkeys or the like, the probes 74 also rupture the membranes within the fowl in the manner previously described.

It will thus be seen that the present invention provides an automatic system for rupturing interior membranes and for cleansing the interior of fowl carcasses in a fowl processing plant. The present system operates automatically without the required intervention of an operator to insure efficient and uniform washing of the interior of a plurality of fowl. The system is simple in construction and not generally subject to maintenance problems.

Whereas the present invention has been described with respect to specific embodiments thereof, it will be understood that various changes and modifications will be suggested to one skilled in the art, and it is intended to encompass such changes and modifications as fall within the scope of the appended claims.

What is claimed is: 1. A system for automatically washing the interior of a fowl carcass carried by a conveyor comprising:

an elongated probe depending downwardly over a fowl carcass being transported along the conveyor path,

means synchronized with the conveyor for moving said probe along the path of travel of said fowl carcass,

structure synchronized with the conveyor for automatically moving said probe downwardly into the interior of said fowl carcass, and

means for automatically initiating the spraying of fluid from said-probe when said probe is disposed within said fowl carcass. 2. The system of claim I wherein said probe comprises:

an upper portion connected to receive pressurized fluid, I

a lower extension portion telescoped over said upper portion and operable to slide downwardly along said upper portion when pressurized fluid is applied, and

apertures defined in said lower extension for spraying fluid therefrom.

3. The system of claim 2 and further comprising:

spring means disposed between said upper portion and said lower extension portion for returning said lower extension portion to its upper position when the supply of pressurized fluid is terminated.

4. The system of claim 2 and further comprising:

valve means connected to said upper portion and operable to supply pressurized fluid thereto.

5. In an automated system for processing fowl having a conveyor along which fowl travel at spaced intervals, the combination comprising:

a plurality of vertically depending elongated probes separated by said spaced intervals and mounted over said fowl,

means for moving said probes in synchronism with the travel of said fowl,

structure for automatically moving ones of said probes downwardly into the interior of said fowl,

means for automatically spraying fluid from said probes while within the interior of said fowl, and

means for automatically withdrawing said probes from the interior of said fowl.

6. The combination of claim 5 wherein said probes each comprise:

an upper portion connected to receive pressurized fluid,

a lower extension portion telescoped over said upper portion and operable to slide downwardly along said upper portion when pressurized fluid is applied, and

apertures defined in said lower extension for spraying fluid therefrom.

7. The combination of claim 6 and further comprising:

spring means disposed between said upper portion and said lower extension portion for returning said lower extension portion to its upper position when the supply of pressurized fluid is terminated.

8. The combination of claim 6 and further comprismeans for moving said probes around a closed curved path, a portion of said path extending parallel to the path of said conveyor,

a plurality of fluid conduits connected between said probes and a rotary union attached to a supply of pressurized fluid.

9. The combination of claim 6 and further comprismeans for moving said probes around a semicircular path,

said means positioned at a bend portion of said conveyor.

10. The combination of claim 6 and further comprisfluid valve means on each said probe, and

stationary means for operating said valve means to supply pressurized fluid to said probes.

11. A method of washing the interior of a plurality of fowls traveling along a conveyor path comprising:

moving a plurality of downwardly depending probes around a curved closed path, a portion of said closed path disposed adjacent said conveyor path such that said probes are suspended above ones of said fowl traveling along said conveyor path,

sequentially moving ones of said probes downwardly into the interior of said fowl without interrupting the travel of said fowl,

injecting fluid through said probes and into the interior of said fowl, and

sequentially withdrawing said probes to a position above said fowl.

12. The method of claim 11 and further comprising:

membranes within the interior of said fowl.

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Referenced by
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Classifications
U.S. Classification452/106, 452/173
International ClassificationA22C21/00
Cooperative ClassificationA22C21/0061
European ClassificationA22C21/00H